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in good George W. Bush’s Heart Problems A healthy and fit former President Bush finds himself with heart problems. What does it say for the rest of us? How at risk are we?

Men’s Low Libido

Do they have to live with it or is there treatment?

ANTIBIOTICS

How safe are they?

“30 things I’ve learned about living alone”

September 2013 • Issue 165

free FREE

CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

New School Year Means

New Injury Season

Participating in school sports offers students unique opportunities to develop lifelong fitness habits; however, sports can also expose children to environments and activities where injury is common

Page Page199

Halting Hunger New leader at Central New York Food Bank focused on broadening programs Page 11

Cafe 407 in Liverpool Helps Fund Fight Against Eating Disorders Page 14

My First Triathlon

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Meet Your Doctor Orthopedic surgeon Naven Duggal hails from Boston. He is now with SOS

Top Homecare Nurse

VNA Homecare’s Dea Kuiper, described as a “trusted, tireless advocate,” is among 10 finalists from across the country who will get the title of Home Care & Hospice Nurse of the Year Page 20 September 2013 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2013


Congratulations to our physicians and staff who have earned recognition for excellence in providing quality and cost-efficient care.

Spine Surgery

Knee and Hip Replacement

Cardiac Care

www.sjhsyr.org � Follow us on Facebook and Twitter: stjosephshealth Blue Distinction® Centers (BDC) met overall quality measures for patient safety and outcomes, developed with input from the medical community. Blue Distinction® Centers+ (BDC+) also met cost measures that address consumers’ need for affordable healthcare. Individual outcomes may vary. National criteria is displayed on www.bcbs.com. A Local Blue Plan may require additional criteria for facilities located in its own service area. For details on Local Blue Plan Criteria, a provider’s in-network status, or your own policy’s coverage, contact your Local Blue Plan. Each hospital’s Cost Index is calculated with data from its Local Blue Plan. Hospitals in CA, ID, NY, PA, and WA may lie in two Local Blue Plans’ areas, resulting in two Cost Index figures; and their own Local Blue Plans decide whether one or both Cost Index figures must meet BDC+ national criteria. Neither Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association nor any Blue Plans are responsible for damages or non-covered charges resulting from Blue Distinction or other provider finder information or care received from Blue Distinction or other providers. St. Joseph’s is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis. Franciscan Companies is a member of the St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center system.

2013 Fun

Great Music

Awesome Auction

Join Hospice of Central New York for an evening of fun and music at Traditions at the Links on September 20 from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm. $125 per person includes dinner, drinks, dancing and more! All proceeds benefit Hospice of Central New York patients and their families. Reserve your place online at www.hospicecny.org or call 315.634.1100. September 2013 •

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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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OASIS programs for September rage from dance exercises to long brain health OASIS, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of mature adults 50 and older through lifelong learning, healthy living and social engagement, will sponsor three seminars in September. They will take place at its headquarters, 6333 state Route 298, E. Syracuse, next to the Double Tree Hotel off Carrier Circle. For information call 464-6555. • Living With Dying—This foursession class will be held from 5:50– 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays beginning Sept. 25, to Oct. 16 at the OASIS Center. Presenters are specialists from the nursing profession, psychology, hospice, bereavement, social work, palliative care, and bioethics. This educational series seeks to recognize our mortality as a step toward enjoying the potential of life. These classes will focus on death awareness; decision making with serious illness; enabling difficult conversations; transitions in care. The fee is $48. • Dance Exercise Motown Etc.— This 10-session class will be held from 11:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m. on Wednesdays beginning Sept. 18 through Nov. 20 at the OASIS Center. Presenter is Jeaneanne Ketchum, former adjunct professor at the Syracuse University drama department. This class will use some of the Motown songs of Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, The Temptations and others. The dance exercise workouts can be paced to your individual comfort and fitness level. The fee is $69. • Life Long Brain Health—This six-session class will be held from 9:3011:30 p.m. on Wednesdays beginning Sept. 25 through Oct. 30 at the Liverpool Library at 310 Tulip St., Liverpool. Presenters are Ellen Somers, cognitive health services coordinator, and Patrick VanBeveren, physical therapy supervisor for the Center at St. Camillus. This class will provide you with the tools to maintain a healthy brain for the rest of your life. These six classes will focus on strategies for strengthening your memory skills; physical exercise; nutrition; stress reduction; mental workouts; health care. At the end, each participant will have a clear action plan for continuing the brain health journey. The fee is $69.

St. Joseph’s Seeks Volunteers St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center is seeking volunteers to fill a number of important positions within the healthcare system. Volunteer opportunities include information desk evenings and weekends; emergency department opportunities, which include angels, information / wayfinding, ambassadors and Information desk. Volunteers must be in good physical health, have basic computer skills, have good listening skills, make eye contact easily and have a welcoming smile. For more information to become a part of St. Joseph’s volunteer family, call Mary Hagen or Kathy Mueller at 315-448-5185, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. to set up an interview. Page 4

CALENDAR of

HEALTH EVENTS

Sept. 7, 14

Intro to zen meditation at Cicero Library Northern Onondaga Public Library at Cicero is offering a a workshop focusing on introduction to zen meditation. It will take place at 10:30 a.m. , Sept. 7 and 14 at the library, located 8686 Knowledge Lane in Cicero. Meditation is a proven way to reduce stress and enhance wellness. Longtime practitioners with the Zen Center of Syracuse to present the workshop. Registration required at www.nopl.org or 315-699-2032. Space is limited.

Sept. 12

Conference to focus on life with Parkinson’s disease A free conference sponsored by Upstate’s HealthLink program and the Onondaga County Department of Aging and Youth, titled “Living an Active Life with Parkinson’s Disease,” will be presented on from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Sept. 12 at the Upstate HealthLink/OASIS Center, 6333 county Route 298 in East Syracuse. Physician Dragos Mihaila, assistant professor of neurology, Upstate Medical University, will present the keynote address and the conference will include a yoga demonstration, light lunch, and mingling over dessert. To register please call Upstate Connect at 464-8668

Sept. 12, 19, 26

Self care series led by MVP health education MVP community health educator Chris Britton returns to the Cicero library for a new program to help people take charge of their health. This three-part series explores the basics of self care, how to manage your own health, and how you can make the best-informed decisions about health. It will take place from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Sept. 12, 19 and 26. The Cicero library is located at 8686 Knowledge Lane. Participants receive the MVP self-care handbook at the first presentation. Free. Registration required at 699-2032 or www.nopl.org.

Sept. 14

Multi-organ blood analysis events in Central Square Oswego Health will hold multiblood analysis event in Central Square from 6:30 – 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 at the Central Square Medical Center, located at 3045 East Avenue in the village. This full battery of tests can help prevent potential health problems. The cost of the analysis is $35. Typically these tests can cost more than $340. In addition, there is an optional $20 prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, which is recommended to men older than age

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2013

50. A 12-hour fast is required. Checks to cover the cost of the screenings should be made out to Oswego Health. The analysis screens individuals for various conditions such as anemia, diabetes, and others, as well as for coronary, kidney, and liver diseases. The most popular screening at the event is the portion of the analysis that assesses LDL and HDL cholesterol along with triglycerides. To make an appointment call 341-0011.

Sept. 20

Hospice’s biggest fundraiser held at the Links

tion on this event, contact Kurt Hohmann via kurt.hohmann@gmail.com or at 315-402-3571, or visit the website at www.cnyppd.org.

Sept. 22

‘Walk To Remember’ held at Emerson Park in Auburn Cayuga County Office for the Aging and the Cayuga County Council of Senior Citizens are sponsoring the “Fourth Walk To Remember 2013 & 5K Run,” which will benefit the local Alzheimer’s Disease Community Service Program, Caregiver Support Program and Project Lifesaver. There are over 2,500 residents in Cayuga County who have Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia related symptoms. Organizers say attendants can make a difference in their lives and the lives of their caregivers. The event will take place starting at 9 a.m. Sept. 22 at Emerson Park in Auburn. Entry fee per person is $20. Refreshments, raffles, music will be available. Contact or stop by the Cayuga County Office for the Aging to receive your advance registration form. The number to call is 315-253-1226. Form is also available online at www. co.cayuga.ny.us/aging. Payment must be received by Sept. 6.

The Hospice Foundation of Central New York will hold its signature event Sept. 20. This year’s event will mark the 24th September Song Gala. Hematology-Oncology Associates of CNY will be the presenting sponsor for the ninth straight year. Organizers say support for this year’s event is critical, especially as a result of significant and imminent changes to health care benefits. The hospice foundation plans to increase its efforts to reach out to the community to secure donations to sustain Hospice of Central New York through these turbulent times. The foundation’s goal is to ensure that everyone gets the medications, treatments, and equipment needed to make their final journey a comfortable and positive experience. Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance reimbursements often fall short of the costs incurred to manage symptoms of the terminally ill. Hospice foundation events like September Song, Hospice Golf Open and Celebrating Life Through Chocolate, as well as donations in memory of a loved one, raise money to pay for expensive medications and equipment costs. September Song will be held at the Traditions at the Links in East Syracuse on Friday, Sept. 20. The local band Primetime Horns will kick off the festivities starting at 6:30. Tickets are $125 per person and sponsorships start at $500. For more information call 634-1100.

The Greater Syracuse Walk To End Alzheimer’s, presented by Aspen Dental and MetLife Foundation, will take place on Oct. 5 at Long Branch Park in Liverpool. More than 1,000 people from the area are expected at this year’s event to raise awareness and funds to fight Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s participants participate in a 3-mile walk and learn about Alzheimer’s disease, advocacy opportunities, clinical trial enrollment, and support programs and services of the Alzheimer’s Association. Each walker will also join in a meaningful tribute ceremony to honor those affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Funds raised at the event support local outreach programs, including free education workshops, support groups and 24-hour telephone assistance (800-2723900), and cutting edge Alzheimer research. Start or join a team today at alz. org/walk or by calling 315-472-4201.

Sept. 21

Oct. 8, 15, and 22

‘Pagan Pride Day’ takes place in Liverpool

Workshop: ‘Survive and Thrive on Your Own’

The 14th annual Pagan Pride Day celebration will be held once again at Long Branch Park in Liverpool from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sept. 21. he event features workshops on various aspects of pagan life, vendors offering unique and handcrafted items, children’s activities, food, musical entertainment, and lots of good family fun. There is also an autumn equinox ritual observance that visitors can either take part in, or just watch to learn more about pagan customs. Admission is free but organizers request a donation of a non-perishable food item, which in turn will be donated to the Food Bank of Central New York. Through education, activism, charity and community, the Pagan Pride Project promotes tolerance and understanding between people with different belief systems. For informa-

Do you live alone? Is it a challenge for you? “Living Alone: How to Survive and Thrive on Your Own,” is a three-part workshop offered for women who want to gain the “know-how” to forge a meaningful and enriching life on their own. You’ll discover how to think differently about living alone and learn practical strategies to overcome loneliness and other emotional pitfalls, rediscover your true self, and socialize in a couples’ world. The workshop takes place from 7– 9 pm at House Content Bed & Breakfast in Mendon on three consecutive Tuesdays: Oct. 8, 15, and 22.The workshop fee of $125 includes a Living Alone manual, empowerment exercises, and lots of helpful resources. To register, contact Gwenn Voelckers at 585-624-7887 or email gvoelckers@rochester.rr.com

Oct. 5

Walk To End Alzheimer’s in Liverpool


ANTIBIOTICS

Doctors most often choose strongest types of drugs but more than onequarter of such prescriptions are unwarranted, study finds

W

hen U.S. physicians prescribe antibiotics, more than 60 percent of the time they choose some of the strongest types of antibiotics, referred to as “broad spectrum,” which are capable of killing multiple kinds of bacteria, University of Utah researchers show in a new study. Unfortunately, in more than 25 percent of cases studied, such prescriptions are useless because the infection stems from a virus, which cannot be treated with antibiotics. This overuse of antibiotics has a number of downsides, including that these types of drugs kill more of the “good” bacteria found in our bodies — which may lead to more side effects — and also contribute to the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to Adam L. Hersh, an infectious disease expert, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine and senior author on a study published July 29 in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. Discerning whether an infection is viral or bacterial can be tricky, according to Hersh, which probably accounts for much of the overuse of antibiotics. “It seems that the natural bias, when there is uncertainty about an infection’s cause, is to err on the side of prescribing antibiotics,” he says. “Our study found that the majority of prescriptions are for antibiotics that kill a wider range of bacteria, and that they are most likely to be given when they’re not needed, such as in cases of viral

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infections.” The types of illnesses where doctors seem to choose stronger antibiotics include respiratory problems, skin infections and urinary tract infections, which in many cases would be better treated by other antibiotics that are less likely to cause resistance. Antibiotic overuse among children and adults is a serious problem and a threat to everyone’s health, according to Hersh, Andrew T. Pavia, also an infectious disease expert and a medical epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “The biggest problem with using antibiotics when they’re not needed is the development of antibiotic resistance, which is when bacteria survive by outsmarting the antibiotic,” she says. “Common infections become difficult to treat, and when you really need an antibiotic, it may not work.” He urges patients to play a larger role by asking their doctor two questions: Do I really need this antibiotic? And, is this antibiotic the best choice for my infection? “Both doctors and patients have a role in ensuring the effectiveness of antibiotics is preserved by using them only when needed,” Hersh says.

ONONDAGA, OSWEGO, CAYUGA AND MADISON COUNTIES in good A monthly newspaper published by

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Local News, Inc. Distribution: 35,000 copies. To request home delivery ($15 per year), call 342-1182.

In Good Health is published 12 times a year by Local News, Inc. © 2013 by Local News, Inc. All rights reserved. Mailing Address: P.O. Box 276, Oswego, NY 13126. • Phone: 315-342-1182 • Fax: 315-342-7776. Editor & Publisher: Wagner Dotto • Associate Editor: Lou Sorendo Contributing Writers: Jim Miller, Eva Briggs, M.D., Gwenn Voelckers, Deborah Banikowski, Deborah Sergeant, Anne Palumbo, Melissa Stefanec, Matthew Liptak, Ernst Lamothe Jr., Suzanne Ellis, Aaron Gifford • Advertising: Jasmine Maldonado, Marsha K. Preston • Design: Chris Crocker • Office Manager: Laura J. Beckwith No material may be reproduced in whole or in part from this publication without the express written permission of the publisher. The information in this publication is intended to complement—not to take the place of—the recommendations of your health provider. Consult your physician before making major changes in your lifestyle or health care regimen.

CHIROPRACTIC COLLEGE Finger Lakes School of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine of New York Chiropractic College School of Applied Clinical Nutrition

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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Meet

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Dr. Naven Duggal New orthopedic surgeon in Syracuse hails from Boston

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Q.: Why did you choose orthopedics? What motivated you to specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle problems? A.: I chose orthopedics because, like most orthopedic surgeons, I like to work with my hands and enjoy the challenge of fixing things. Orthopedics and specifically foot and ankle surgery has allowed me to make an impact in improving the quality of life of my patients.

common treatment options you employ to correct foot and ankle problems? A.: I will tell all my patients that there are various non-operative and operative options available for most foot and ankle complaints. Non-operative options include specifically directed courses of physical therapy to target ligament and tendon problems and the use of orthotics to address deformity after a clinical evaluation of a patient’s alignment and gait.

Q.: How did serving as chief of the orthopedic foot and ankle service at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston help shape you from a professional standpoint? A.: I thoroughly enjoyed my eight years in Boston. During my time at Beth Israel Deaconess, I was able to treat patients with straightforward foot and ankle conditions as well as complex procedures to salvage a patient’s leg. As a surgeon teaching residents in the Harvard Combined Orthopedic Residency Program and performing biomechanical studies, I was able to participate in training the next generation of orthopedic surgeons in addition to advancing knowledge in the treatment of foot and ankle disorders.

Q.: What have been some of the more significant medical breakthroughs involving orthopedics over the last several years? A.: The use of biologics, such as stem cells, to address cartilage damage, tendon and ligament injuries holds great promise in improving patient outcomes for a variety of orthopedic conditions including arthritis and sports injuries.

Q.: Why did you choose Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists and the Syracuse area to practice in? What do you like about the area? A.: While in Boston, I was contacted about the opportunity to join the foot and ankle and general orthopedic trauma team at Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists. This opportunity to join a well established practice with a great reputation in the community was something I could not pass up. Syracuse and Upstate New York was also a draw for my family and I since we love to spend time outdoors and it was close to both our extended families. Q.: Were there any particular influences on your medical career and the path you chose? A.: I chose orthopedics because of the desire to improve the quality of people’s lives. I was fortunate to work with some great orthopedic surgeon mentors as a student and I was able to see first hand how orthopedics was a field that could do that. Q.: What are some of the more common foot and ankle problems you encounter in your practice? A.: I will treat all types of foot and ankle disorders in adolescents and adults including bunions, claw toe deformities, flat foot problems as well as fractures and sports injuries. Q.: What are some of the more

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2013

Q.: What do you find to be the most gratifying aspect of your profession? How about the most challenging? A.: The most gratifying part of my job is having a patient come back to tell me that we were able to decrease their pain or improve their mobility. The most challenging is dealing with fractures associated with osteoporosis. Q.: How can the average person help maintain their own orthopedic health? Are there any particular lifestyle choices that aid orthopedic health? A.: I think it’s important that everyone think about maintaining good bone health. Part of this is making sure you have a good diet with adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D but also making

sure that you speak with your primary care physician about evaluation of your bone density if you are at risk for osteoporosis. Q.: What is the most significant health threat facing Americans today? A.: I believe obesity and diabetes are two major problems facing Americans today. We oftentimes will see both of these conditions in patients we treat. In addition to the orthopedic concerns with these problems, both obesity and diabetes are associated with significant increase in cardiovascular problems. Q.: How does obesity affect orthopedic health? Does being overweight and obese put unnecessary strain on feet and ankles? A.: Obesity can put a strain on ankles and feet. There are tendons around the ankle that can be placed under more stress and this can lead to problems including tearing and deformity of the alignment of the foot and ankle.

Lifelines: Birth date: Aug. 2, 1970 Birthplace: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Current residence: Manlius Education: Bachelor of Science, University of Ottawa; Doctor of Medicine, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada; Sydney Orthopedic Arthritis and Sports Medicine, Sydney, Australia; fellowship, University of Toronto, St. Michael’s Hospital Affiliations: Syracuse Orthopedic Specialists; Crouse Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center Personal: Married with three children Hobbies: Spending time outdoors with my family


Former President Bush’s Heart Trouble If someone like former President George Bush — who doesn’t smoke or drink, who exercises regularly and is very fit — has to have a heart surgery to open a blocked artery, what should the rest of us expect when it comes to heart problems? By Ernst Lamothe Jr.

H

e didn’t drink alcohol for the past 27 years. He didn’t smoke or do drugs. People who met him said they were instantly impressed with his physique. His broad shoulders suggest that he must work out regularly. He even biked 100K this past May as he does every year as part of an event honoring U.S. service men. He also just went in for heart surgery in August after doctors discovered a blocked artery. Seemingly doing everything right, former President George W. Bush, 67, became one of a million people each year to have the procedure, according to the National Institute of Health. To an outside observer, it’s puzzling how someone who was so active and fit could have a heart problem. While there may not be a myriad of answers to why he had the conditions, there have been questions as to why his physician decided on the particular treatment. Robert Carhart, associate professor of medicine and cardiologist at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, said even healthy people can have a blockage. And it’s especially the case as individuals get older. “Over time, the arteries become stiffer as part of the natural aging process. That’s when some blockage can occur,” said Carhart. “Plus there are factors like family history, cholesterol and other issues that play a role in your condition.”

Bush found out about the blockage through an annual physical exam and stress test in Dallas and was treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. He had a blockage in a crucial artery that supplies the heart with blood. Doctors placed a stent to open the artery so blood could go through. Stents are used to treat narrow or weak arteries in a procedure called angioplasty. The doctor makes a small opening in a blood vessel in your groin, upper thigh, arm or neck. Through this opening, the doctor threads a thin, flexible tube called a catheter. The catheter will have a deflated balloon at its tip and the stent is placed around the deflated balloon. Physician Christopher Cove, assistant director of the cardiac catheterization laboratories at the University of Rochester Medical Center, said the former president’s active life could be the reason why it was only minor surgery. “Clearly he was a healthy person who exercised and took care of himself,” said Cove. “He was one of those people who would have been a low candidate for coronary disease. If he hasn’t been healthy, he would have been in far worse shape than the was.” Doctors caution individuals not to get too comfortable even if you just had the same procedure as Bush. “It doesn’t mean that you can go back to smoking or living an unhealthy life,” said Carhart.

Do you suffer with Pain?

“Stents are important for treating a condition but they are not going to prevent you from having a heart attack if you don’t focus on living a healthy life. But it was good that President Bush got a stress test as part of his annual exam.” Cove is familiar with the procedure Bush went through and some physicians in the medical community viewed putting in a stent as questionable. “Because he was asymptomatic, the procedure is not consistent with the recommendation by the American Heart Association and other medical organizations,” said Cove. “If he had chest pains or a heart attack it would make sense, but we don’t know what the benefit is for someone who didn’t have symptoms. There has been a lot of uproar, but there is also no clear cut guideline on how to treat asymptomatic patients.” He said likely Bush talked with his

physician, received all the options and they opted for this one. Cove also said a minor blockage is rather common for older citizens. “Just because you have blockage doesn’t mean it needs to be fixed,” he said. “What you have to do is calculate the risk of treatment with the risk of the condition.” Cove said he has seen fewer patients receive angioplasties because of a nationwide push and education to maintain healthy lives. Whether it’s the targeted campaign against smoking that have lowered the overall rate, information on obesity or more people running, biking and swimming, there has been a concerted effort to educate the public on their health. More than ever today, every food item at the grocery store or sometimes in restaurants contains nutritional information. Even places like McDonalds put the overall calories in every food and beverage next to the item either on its digital wall or the information box close to the registers. “People are eating healthier and taking medication that lowers their cholesterol,” said Cove. “People understand the problems that risky behavior like smoking, heavy drinking or eating the wrong foods can do to your body. Over the last 10 to 15 years, we have seen the trend of healthy living.” Carhart added that 30 minutes of cardio exercise three to four times a week that raises your heart rate makes a world of difference to maintaining a healthy heart. He believes staying healthy earlier on will prevent many problems later in life for most people. Even though statistics are showing improvements in heart care, it really boils down to maintaining a healthy life and paying attention to symptoms.” “If anything we are seeing the number of people dying of heart disease decreasing,” he said. “But it doesn’t mean we have eliminated it. We are treating people on the front end, but they are just living longer managing their chronic pain.”

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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 7


Live Alone & Thrive

By Gwenn Voelckers

Practical tips, advice and hope for those who live alone

30 Things I’ve Learned About Living Alone

I

have been living alone for almost 30 years now. Thirty years! One might think I’ve become stuck in my ways, but — honestly — just the opposite has happened. Being on my own has given me the freedom to live unencumbered, to change, to grow, and to embrace lifelong learning. The only thing I’m stuck on is living life to the fullest! And apparently, I’m not alone. According to recent census data, singles make up almost 30 percent of US households. That suggests to me that more and more women and men — whether divorced, widowed, or never married — may be finding contentment on their own.

Below are 30 things I’ve learned about living alone: 1 — Living alone doesn’t mean being alone. In fact, it may offer more opportunities to pursue friendships, date, and spend time with family members. 2 — Rediscovering your “true self” and identifying those things that bring meaning and joy into your life can turn living alone into an adventure. 3 — Loneliness is not a “state of being” reserved for single people. Were you ever lonely while you were married? 4 — Accepting party invitations, even if it’s a party with mostly couples, is worth doing. It gets you out of the house. Couples often separate into groups of women and men anyway, so singles blend right in. 5 — Figuring out how to replace

the flapper value in your toilet, all by yourself, can be very rewarding! 6 — The stereotyped image of singles as desperate and miserable is exaggerated and just plain untrue. Recent studies on the subject bear this out. 7 — Pursuing a new career or college degree in midlife can be liberating and fun. 8 — Doing a “random act of kindness” is a great antidote when you’re feeling sorry for yourself. 9 — Friends matter. Reach out. Nurture your friendships. Honor your commitments. 10 — Accepting a dinner invitation does not obligate you to anything. Take your time. Get to know the person you’re dating before you embrace romance — literally. 11 — Paying your own fair share on a date can feel very empowering. 12 —Children are priorities, even in the face of a hot and heavy romance. 13 — Letting go of the idea that you need to be married to feel happy and fulfilled is essential. That outlook will only keep you mired in self-pity. 14 — Living alone can release your inner Martha Stewart. Do you have a craft project secretly lurking inside you? Set it free! 15 — Treating yourself well builds esteem. Prepare and eat decent meals at home. Get enough sleep. Exercise. You’re worth it. 16 — Getting out of your com-

KIDS Corner Most Adults Support Banning Smoking When Kids Are in the Car

A

new poll shows 82 percent of adults support banning smoking in cars when children under 13 are riding in the vehicle. According to the latest University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, support is strong for prohibiting drivers and passengers from smoking when kids are in the car. However, only seven states nationwide have laws banning the practice. The poll also showed that 87 percent of adults would support a ban on smoking in businesses where children are allowed. Seventy-five percent expressed support for banning smoking in homes where children have asthma or another lung disease. Page 8

“Smoke is a real health hazard for kids whose lungs are still developing, and especially for kids who have illnesses like asthma where the lungs are particularly fragile and flare up when exposed to secondhand smoke,” says Matthew M. Davis, director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. Even among current smokers in the poll, more than one half supported bans that would protect children from secondhand smoke. For example, 60 percent of current smokers said they’d strongly support or support a ban on smoking in cars with children under 13 years old present, compared with 84 percent of former smokers and 87 percent of never-smokers.

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2013

fort zone is worth the discomfort. Try something new — dance lessons, computer lessons, jewelry making, a class in public speaking. It’s a great way to have fun and meet people. 17 — Still in your PJ’s at noon? No one has to know. 18 — Isolating on holiday, birthdays, Sundays, etc. is for the birds. Solitary confinement is punishment for criminals, not single people. Make plans. 19 — Traveling solo is an adventure in self-discovery. Whether it’s Paris or Peoria, striking out on your own will expand your world and build self-confidence. 20 — Comb your hair. Lose the sweat pants. Put a smile on your face. It’s important to create your own positive feedback. Looking good will draw people (and compliments) to you. 21 — Self-confidence and humor are powerful aphrodisiacs. Neediness and desperation are real turn-offs. 22 — It’s all yours — the good, the bad, the chores, the bills. Living alone, like being married, is not Shangri-La. It’s real life. 23 — There’s no shame in asking for help. It’s not a show of weakness. On the contrary. 24 — Doing something alone means you enjoy life and your own company; it does not mean you are a loser. 25 — Expanding your definition of

love beyond “romantic love” will stand you in good stead. Embrace “passionate friendships” — those relationships in which you can be yourself and feel completely comfortable. 26 — Hanging out with negative people is a real downer. Put yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself and about life. 27 — Time alone can make you philosophical: If I vacuum in the nude and no one is here to see it, did it really happen? 28 — Your dream house can be yours. Whether it’s a shoebox-sized apartment or cottage in the county, you can — at long last! — make your home your own. 29 — Mac ‘n cheese may be just what the doctor ordered. There’s no harm in occasionally indulging in your favorite comfort food and tearjerker movie if it soothes your soul. “The Way We Were” is my three-hankie movie of choice. 30 — Living alone and loving it takes practice. Know that there is always someone you can call or something you can do to improve your situation. A little prayer doesn’t hurt either. Those of us who have learned to enjoy living along are not spending our time bemoaning our fate. We have overcome adversity and we are the stronger for it. We have taken our lives into our own hands and have embraced the choices and possibilities that living alone has to offer. Here’s to the next thirty years! Gwenn Voelckers is the founder and facilitator of Live Alone and Thrive, empowerment workshops for women held throughout the year in Mendon, New York. For information about her October workshop schedule, turn to the Calendar of Events in this issue, call (585) 624-788,7 or e-mail Gwenn at gvoelckers@rochester.rr.com.

Why Kids Should Not be Allowed on Trampoline Pediatric orthopedic surgeon says trampolines not worth injury risk

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ess than two weeks after getting a new trampoline, 12-year-old Abbey Creamean broke her ankle when she landed awkwardly. She wore a cast up to her midthigh. She had to cancel a dance recital, quit her softball team and give up swimming. Abbey is among the more than 100 young patients that physician Terri Cappello of Loyola University Medical Center has treated during her 15 years as a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. “A trampoline puts a child at risk for serious injuries,” Cappello said. “Kids sustain broken arms, legs and even break their necks which can lead to paralysis. Just as you would not let your child jump into a shallow swimming pool, you should not let them jump on a trampoline.” Cappello agrees with a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that says safety measures such as enclosure nets and padding have not substantially reduced the risk. “Therefore, the home use of

trampolines is strongly discouraged,” the Academy statement said. The AAP estimated that in 2009, there were nearly 98,000 trampolinerelated injuries in the United States. And injuries peak during the summer months. Cappello said trampolines might be worth the risk only when used for training purposes by gymnasts and divers, under careful supervision.


Crouse Robotics Program Marks 5 Years of Growth Crouse Hospital on Aug. 18 marked the fifth anniversary of the start up of its robotic surgery program. The first procedures using the minimally invasive da Vinci technology were GYN oncology cases performed by physician Mary Cunningham and her partner physician Douglas Bunn. Both are pioneers and the regional leaders in this type of surgery. The addition in 2010 of nationallyrecognized urologic surgeon David Albala from Duke University Medical Center further solidified Crouse’s growing leadership in robotic surgery in Central New York Albala was recently named editor-in-chief of the Journal of Robotic Surgery. In just five short years — thanks to teamwork, passion and a dedicated commitment patient care excellence — Crouse’s program has grown to be the largest multispecialty robotics program in the area, with more than 600 urology, colorectal, GYN oncology, gynecology and general surgical procedures performed last year alone in its Witting Surgical Center. “This is a significant accomplishment, especially considering the fact that Crouse was the last Syracuse hospital to acquire the da Vinci tech-

nology,” says Crouse Chief Medical Officer Ron Stahl. Today, it’s not an overstatement to say that Crouse Hospital is the regional leader in minimally invasive robotic surgery. Last year the hospital was selected as a national training site for colorectal robotic surgery, one of just seven in the country. Every month, colorectal surgeons from hospitals and health systems across the U.S. come to Crouse to learn how to use the technology from physicians John Nicholson and partner David Nesbitt. Other hospitals considering starting a robotic surgery program routinely make site visits to Crouse to learn from the Crouse team what it takes to set up and grow a successful program. More recently, at the skilled hands of physician Kenneth Cooper, Crouse became the first local hospital to offer single-incision robotic surgery for gallbladder removal, a great alternative to traditional laparoscopy. Other positive impacts of the program on patients include reduced length of stay; quicker return to normal activities; less scarring. For more information about the Crouse Institute for Robotic Surgery visit crouse.org/robotics.

Upstate Acquires UV Light Cleaning Technology for Patient Rooms Upstate University Hospital has acquired a new tool that is helping provide a cleaner, safer environment for its patients. The use of a specialized ultraviolet (UV) light device has been added to the already thorough cleaning process for patient rooms and public restrooms. This added technology improves patient safety and reduces disease transmission. “We had an effective process established, and now adding the UV light to the tool box helps wipe out fomite transmission of contagious disease,” explained Paul Seale, chief operating officer of Upstate University Hospital. “Now, we clean, disinfect and apply the UV light to help eradicate hard to kill bacteria like C. difficile.” Three UV light units are placed in the patient room after the traditional cleaning process is completed. This

allows the light to hit all surfaces by eliminating shadowed areas and placing a dedicated unit in the rest room. The units are activated by remote control for safety purposes. The use of the UV light units takes approximately 30 minutes. “This has been a real team effort with a goal of improving patient safety,” said Sue Campanaro-Murphy, director of environmental services for Upstate University Hospital. “We evaluated our existing cleaning process, added the UV light and developed an implementation plan that has let us get into the areas with the most vulnerable patient populations first. We already use UV technology in the air handling system and operating rooms, so we are skilled at using it and know that it is effective.”

OCO Cancer Service Program Gets Funding for Five Years The OCO Cancer Services Program Partnership, which operates under Oswego County Opportunities in Fulton, recently received grants from the state Department of Health and the Susan G. Komen Foundation of CNY. The grants will allow it to operate for the next five year. The program provides uninsured men and women aged 40-64 with a range of cancer screenings including clinical breast exams, mammograms, Pap/pelvic exams, and colorectal cancer screenings. Program coordinator Carolyn Handville said the grants will allow the organization to screen more women for breast cancer. “We are excited to continue our

efforts in the fight against cancer in Oswego County. We will offer free screenings all year long as we have in the past; however, our new funding will make it possible for us to host four screening events throughout the county. These screening events will offer a ‘one-stop shop’ for women to obtain their annual cancer screenings along with non-traditional appointment hours as well as transportation and daycare opportunities as needed. We will increase our outreach throughout the county promoting these events and, once again, conduct our annual Human Pink Ribbon Campaign in honor of breast cancer awareness month in October,” said Handville.

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September 2013 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 9


My Turn

By Eva Briggs

Communication is Key for Hospitals’ Disaster Preparedness

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recently averted a small household disaster. My dog — when he does something wrong he is mine and not ours — recently stomped on the keyboard of my husband’s computer, causing the display to rotate 90 degrees and the trackpad to behave in unpredictable fashion. Fortunately I was able to use my computer to Google the solution and restore both the computer and family harmony. Of course, if someone had used forethought and not played with a wild young dog while holding his laptop on his knees, the situation might never have arisen. So I am devoting this month’s column to lessons about disaster preparedness — for hospitals — learned from recent tragic events. Every hospital has a disaster plan and has regular drills. But even the best-laid plans can have weaknesses uncovered during the real thing. The year 2005 brought hurricane Katrina. I volunteered as part of a mobile medical team two weeks after the event, and can attest first-hand that there was still a lot of chaos in health care delivery at that point. A recent article in the American Medical News listed only two take-home points from this disaster: (1) hospitals should develop and regularly practice evacuation plans and (2) elevate or relocate electrical equipment to prevent damage during a flood. I can add my own two cents worth from my observations. My experience was as follows. I signed up via email to volunteer within days after the hurricane. Two weeks later I received a call asking me to volunteer — with two days notice. I flew down and joined a group of about 100 doctors, nurses and other medi-

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cal personnel. It took several days to match volunteers with their missions. Our mobile team traveled all over Louisiana, often arriving a day too late to render any service, such as reaching a homeless shelter where all the residents had been transferred elsewhere a day earlier. The entire process could have run more smoothly in many ways, most of which involved communication or lack thereof. From the start, I never received a confirmation that my information regarding my willingness to volunteer had been received and I was placed on the volunteer list. When I did receive a voicemail message asking if I would volunteer, the caller left the wrong call back number and only some creative googling and luck enabled me to reach the volunteer coordinator. The information I was given about the accommodations, available facilities, and what I needed to bring was plain wrong. All these were communication issues. When I did arrive at Port Allen near Baton Rouge, there was a tent city consisting of perhaps 20 – 30 giant circus-style tents. All 100 newly arrived volunteers in my cohort were crammed into army cots in one tent, while several adjacent tents remained unoccupied. Of course some of us merely spread into the nearby tents, figuring we could always move back if anyone else arrived (no one ever did). On the next day, a morning meeting took place during which about one third of the group received assignments. No one had taken inventory of what skills the volunteers possessed and what skills were needed for each task, and so whoever waved his/her hand while wildly shouting, “Pick me,” was chosen for the next task. The

remaining two thirds of us sat idle for another day. I was assigned to one of four mobile medical teams, each of which was originally planned to have eight members but were doubled to 16 members because there was no where else to place the volunteers. With twice as many members, the mobile teams were immobilized for another 24 hours while transportation was arranged for the teams. Each day we received our assignment for the next day. After arriving one day with 16 people to render medical care at a homeless shelter that held only two (healthy) residents, we decided to call ahead each evening. Even when we learned that we were headed somewhere that we were unneeded, the supervisor back at headquarters told us to go anyway. We assume we were enabling the government to place pins in a map showing all the locations where medical volunteers had been deployed. Before leaving Port Allen, we had access to a huge warehouse of donated medications and supplies, and we were able to load our vehicles with whatever we deemed necessary. But no one in power had made any inventory of what were the most commonly used medicines in the people we were serving, most of whom needed refills of medicines for chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes. So we ended up with too much of some medicines while needed drugs stayed behind in the warehouse. I also had to argue with the supervisors in order to get a small budget for miscellaneous supplies — labels, markers, plastic bins. They pronounced the latter unnecessary until I demonstrated what happens the first time that you place a

CNY Arts Invites Community Input in Regional Cultural Plan CNY Arts (formerly the Cultural Resources Council) is seeking input from residents in six Central New York counties as part of a new initiative to promote and develop the area’s culture, arts, history, and heritage resources for both residents and tourists. Engage CNY is a year-long project that will result in a master cultural plan for the region, comprised of Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, and Oswego counties. It is the first regional cultural plan ever developed in New York state. Leaders representing a cross-section of our community, from business, tourism, youth, history, faith, nonprofit, and special needs groups, to agriculture, music, theater, media, education, and more, have been recruited to guide this unprecedented effort. As part of the Engage CNY leadership advisory council, they will oversee an inventory and assessment, conducted by CNY Arts, of what is happening now in arts, culture,

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2013

history and heritage in communities across the region — in schools, libraries, churches, colleges, parks, neighborhoods, in neighborhood and senior centers, at festivals, within new immigrant and refugee communities, and in government, industry, & business. CNY Arts will use this inventory, along with information obtained through a series of community forums throughout the region, to determine who is being reached by what kinds of programming and where and why there are gaps. Stephen Butler, CNY Arts executive director, explains “Our purpose is to find out what Central New Yorkers want in the areas of arts, culture, history, and heritage, how to create partnerships across all sectors of our community, and how to increase access to cultural activities to everyone.” With this information in hand, the initiative will: • Explore how to invigorate Cen-

cardboard box filled with supplies onto wet ground. There was no overall plan to place each of the four medical teams into a specific geographic area, so each team traveled all over the state — great for tourists, but a waste of volunteer hours and gas. On the final few days we went to New Orleans. There was no cell service, and no one had thought to give us radios or maps showing where the nearest emergency room was open. So when we did have a true emergency come into our mobile clinic, some of the medical team had to drive around until they found a police officer to help. Not very efficient when a patient has an impending airway obstruction! We also had inadequate shade — only a few flimsy tarps — and no interpreters for the large number of Spanish-speaking patients we encountered. In m my opinion, the take-home lessons are better communication all around and placing someone with logistics experience in key positions. Communication is better when it’s closed loop — every message is acknowledged. This can be email confirmation of communication, or a verbal response to a spoken order, repeating and affirming the message. Redundancy helps, too — perhaps a voice message for something important could be backed up with an email. I have no formal training in logistics, but I’ve juggled work, family, volunteering, and hobbies for years. So it’s pretty clear that for logistics you need someone who can survey what is needed and what is available and — this is key — see both the big picture and visualize the scenario and what might arise.

Eva Briggs is a medical doctor who works at two urgent care centers (Central Square and Fulton) operated by Oswego Health.

tral New York economy, neighborhood development, tourism, and quality of life with the power of its arts and culture. • Design a concrete plan to better coordinate arts, culture, history, and heritage so their offerings are available to all who want them—residents and visitors alike—and to increase the visibility of Central New York as a cultural destination. • Make the region a better place to live, work, play and visit by strengthening the ability of the CNY Arts agency to function as a center for community collaboration and a powerful engine of cultural development. CNY Arts wants to hear the views of as many Central New York residents as possible. One key way to participate is to complete the Engage CNY community survey, available online at www.cnyarts.org. Hard copies will be available at libraries in Onondaga County. The survey is confidential, brief, and easy to complete, and available through Oct. 1. Any interested individuals also invited to take part in one of the upcoming regional forums. For details, or to obtain a survey copy by mail, call CNY Arts at 315-4352155.


Halting Hunger

New lung cancer screening recommendations expected to save 20,000 lives

New leader at Central New York Food Bank focused on broadening programs By Aaron Gifford

K

athleen Stress recalls the sense of community she and her neighbors cherished in their rural Finger Lakes farming community. Growers would share their crops, jam makers and bakers were happy to give away some of their tasty treats, and families who fell upon hard times could expect to find crates of corn, root vegetables or meats on their front porch. “We had a great garden, too great not to share,” the Phelps, Ontario County, native recalled. “Food can be the staple of a community.” Stress has never abandoned that concept. As the newly appointed executive director of the Central New York Food Bank, Stress is focused on broadening programs that provide healthy locally grown goods to thousands of local families while continuing to assure the agency’s long-term financial stability. She served as the food bank’s chief operating officer for six years before she took the helm in July, succeeding long-time boss Tim Slater. Slater had led the food bank since 1995. William Murphy, president of the food bank’s governing board, said Stress was selected because of her leadership qualities. “Practically since she started here, Kathleen has proven herself as an organizer and a leader,” Murphy said. “The rest of our employees have looked to her for guidance, and she has responded wonderfully.” Stress is responsible for a nonprofit entity that covers 11 counties. Last year, the Central New York Food Bank distributed 12,273,003 pounds of food and served 268 emergency assistance programs. But overseeing the warehousing and distribution of food makes up only a fraction of Stress’ workload. She is also responsible for making sure the agency gets continued funding from the Department of Health, private donors, grants and partnerships. In her role as the chief operating officer, Stress helped the agency remain financially viable during the Great Recession. The agency took on additional fund-raising during that time as more families needed help, “and no one was ever turned away,” she said.

The face of hunger

But the most striking effect of the recent recession is how the face of hunger has changed. There are more families that were middle class or even upper middle class. There are more retirees. And there are more recent college graduates, Stress explained. “Hunger has shifted,” she said. “We used to think of that homeless guy on the corner. Now you see a lot of families, people who have jobs and are working, but it’s still not enough.” And yet, Stress said, there are probably hundreds of thousands of people who are eligible for food bank programs that don’t know about the services or who are too proud to take food. Stress wants to eradicate the stigma that goes along with food distribution and get the message across that

Kathleen Stress “it’s not a handout. It’s just to help you get back on your feet.” As part of an outreach program, food bank representatives make applications available at senior centers, farmers’ markets and other venues. If an applicant does not qualify for benefits or follow through with the process, food bank representatives will follow up with applicants at a later date. To stay focused, Stress does not think of the big numbers—how many pounds of food, how many people have filled out applications, or annual budget numbers. She concentrates on whether the food bank gets and will continue to get all of the commodities needed to make healthy family meals. Food insecurity, she explained, is the situation where a family does not know where its next meal is coming from. When people are not distracted so much by hunger, they can focus on the other hurdles of getting back on their feet. “Our main mission, she said, “is to reduce food insecurity for folks.”

Door-to-door service

The Central New York Food Bank prides itself in being one of the few programs in the state that still delivers goods door to door, even in the most rural communities. In recent years, it focused on health, incorporating a no candy or soda policy and shifting the money that was spent on junk food to local produce. There is also a Produce of the Month initiative, and beneficiaries receive vouchers—CNY Health Bucks—that can be used at most area farmers’ markets. “We know that soda and candy are accessible at most corner stores,” she said, “but fresh foods aren’t.” As a youngster, Stress aspired to become a teacher. She majored in art education at SUNY Fredonia and worked at day care centers between semesters. Stress took courses in childhood development at Syracuse University, got married to her husband Marc and later went back to SU to complete a master’s degree in public administra-

tion from the Maxwell School. Prior to her career at the food bank, Stress ran the Syracuse-area Salvation Army day care program that served low-income children. “The kids kept me going,” she said. “If we can help them learn, smile and have fun, then it’s worth it.” Stress remembers how some children told her that they went almost an entire weekend without a meal. That’s what inspired her to work at the Central New York Food Bank. Children are still at the heart of Stress’ mission. She occasionally brings her 8-year-old son, Orion, to work with her so he can get a better understanding of how food gets from a farm to a local family’s dinner table. Stress also does presentations to youth leadership programs and coordinates a food preparation programs with Girl Scout troops. “With kids that age, we want them to learn that hunger is right here. It’s not a Third World issue. We give them an understanding of what hunger is, what it looks like. It looks like your neighbor,” she said. At the end of the workday, Stress still is thinking about food. Her favorite recipes include grilled vegetables, preferably locally grown. Beets, turnips, parsnips and peppers, she says, are all great over an open flame. She also loves homemade pizza and just about anything with fresh diced tomatoes. No matter what dish Stress is enjoying or when she’s enjoying it, in the back of her mind she’s thinking of ways to make the ingredients for the same delicious dinner accessible to everyone. She wonders if the food bank’s 11 counties can someday share that same sense of community she cherished in rural Phelps. “I kid myself and say that I want to work myself out of a job so there’s not one hungry person left,” she said. To inquire about donations or volunteer opportunities at the Central New York Food Bank, call 315-4371899, or visit www.foodbankcny.org. September 2013 •

The new recommendation for an annual low-dose CT scan for high risk smokers and ex-smokers to detect early lung cancer, announced in August by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), is expected to save at least 20,000 lives each year and will trigger Medicare and insurance coverage. Upstate Medical University lung cancer specialist, physician Leslie Kohman, is encouraging those at risk for the disease not to wait for the new standards to take effect but to get screened now as it may be 12 to 18 months before most insurance companies will cover the cost. “The new recommendations are a significant step forward in saving lives, since to save a life you need to catch the disease in its earliest stages,” said Kohman, medical director for the Upstate Cancer Center at Upstate Medical University. “So we are encouraging those at risk not to wait, but to stop smoking and be screened as soon as possible.” Kohman also emphasizes that stopping smoking will save even more lives and is the most important strategy in reducing deaths from lung cancer. “There is no need to wait for this,” said Kohman. Kohman served as Upstate’s lead investigator when, in 2001, Upstate was one of 12 sites in New York state to participate in the New York Early Lung Cancer Action screening study. Overall findings from the study showed significant benefit of low dose scans in detecting early lung cancers. The findings also served as the impetus for the National Lung Cancer Screening study, which resulted in the changed guidelines for screening for lung cancer. In issuing its new draft recommendations, the USPSTF gave its second highest approval rating— B—for CT screening for lung cancer for those at high risk, a move that if approved in final form, will trigger Medicare and insurance coverage and bring about a dramatic drop in the leading cause of cancer deaths. For comparison, Kohman says that mammogram screenings also carry a “B” rating, a strong indicator that the new guidelines for lung cancer screening will become reality. Under the Affordable Care Act, all recommendations rated as “A” or “B” must be covered by all insurers with no co-pay for the patient. Current standards for lung cancer screening are targeted to high-risk smokers and ex-smokers between the ages of 55 and 74 who smoked at least the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years (or two packs a day for 15 years, half a pack a day for 60 years etc). Individuals who no longer smoke can be screened, but they must have quit smoking within the last 15 years to be eligible. The new screening recommendations have expanded the indications up to age 79. For more information about the lung cancer screening program, contact Linda Veit at 464-6303.

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

Page 11


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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2013


SmartBites

By Anne Palumbo

The skinny on healthy eating

Befriend the Fantastic Fig

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ong before I gave a fig about a fig, I had a crush on this scrumptious little fruit. Sandwiched into my favorite childhood cookie — the immortal Fig Newton — it found its way into my lunchbox on a regular basis. Today, I’m fond of figs for something else: their standout nutritional value. Since heart disease is the leading killer of men and women, let’s first look at the different ways figs do a heart good. Figs rock on the roughage front, providing decent amounts of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Current research shows that fiber may lower both blood pressure and bad cholesterol, as well as reduce the inflammation now attributed to cardiovascular disease. Pop just four dried figs in your mouth and you will have consumed around 20 percent of your daily fiber needs. Figs also pack a respectable potassium punch, with four figs delivering just a tad less than one small banana. A powerhouse mineral, potassium benefits the heart in several ways: it promotes normal heartbeats; it controls blood pressure; and it may lower cho-

lesterol. Like most fruits, figs are full of antioxidants, important compounds that mop up damaging free radicals. Over time, repeated free radical attacks can lead to a host of chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s, which is why eating antioxidant-rich foods is always a good thing. But unique among fruits, figs contain calcium, an essential mineral that helps form and maintain healthy bones and teeth. With the threat of osteoporosis looming in my future, I may have to up my figgy consumption. Although figs are low in sodium, cholesterol and fat, they are somewhat high in calories and sugars (between 25 to 30 calories per fig). As with other foods that are calorically dense but nutritionally rich, moderation is the key.

Helpful tips If buying fresh, figs should be soft but not mushy. Seek out slightly wrinkled skin with no bruising. Small cracks are okay (as long as they are not weeping or leaking). Plan on eating figs within a day or two of purchase. They keep (and taste) best at room temperature, but may last a little longer when stored in the refrigerator. Dried figs should be plump and soft; squeeze the packet to make sure.

Oatmeal Fig Bars 1 cup chopped dried figs, stems removed ½ cup water 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 ½ cups rolled oats ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour ½ cup whole wheat flour ¾ cup packed brown sugar ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon ½ cup toasted chopped walnuts 6 tablespoons butter, melted (I used “I can’t believe it’s not Butter!” stick) 1 egg white 1 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl, whisk together oats, flours, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix in nuts. Melt butter, let cool a minute, then whisk in egg white and vanilla. Add butter mixture to oat mixture and stir until combined (use hands for best mixing). Lightly coat hands with flour and then press half of the oat mixture into the prepared pan. Next, spread with the fig mixture. Recoat hands with flour if necessary and then pat remaining oat mixture over fig mixture. Bake for 25 minutes; cool on wire rack. Fun Fact: Figs Newtons are named after Newton, Massachusetts.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep 8 x 8” baking pan with canola oil or cooking spray. Put figs, water and lemon juice into small pan and bring to a boil. Cover; reduce heat and simmer until figs start to break down (about 5 minutes). Let cool for 5 minutes and then process in food processor until smooth. Set aside.

Anne Palumbo is a lifestyle columnist, food guru, and seasoned cook, who has perfected the art of preparing nutritious, calorie-conscious dishes. She is hungry for your questions and comments about SmartBites, so be in touch with Anne at avpalumbo@aol.com.

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n the past four years Cafe at 407 in Liverpool has become an integral part of Central New York’s fight against eating disorders and poor body image. It has done so by being an important source of funding for the nonprofit organization, Ophelia’s Place. Ophelia’s Place began in 2002 after one of founder Mary Ellen Clausen’s daughters was looking for a support group to help in recovery. The mission of the nonprofit is to redefine beauty and health and provide outreach, advocacy and educational services to those impacted by eating disorders, disordered eating and body dissatisfaction. “Funding has always been a challenge so in 2009 [we] opened Cafe at 407 in the front half of our building as a creative way to help fund our nonprofit,” said Jodie Wilson, Ophelia’s Place executive director. “The cafe provides a revenue source that helps fill about 30 percent of our annual budget, but also creates a sense of community. In the community space, people who walk through our doors find encouragement and acceptance; it is a place where recovery happens.” Ophelia’s Place serves an average of 40 to 50 clients a week, Wilson said. Among the programs the nonprofit

offers are support groups and educational and outreach services provided through speaking engagements. The nonprofit also collaborates with Upstate New York Eating Disorders Services or UNYEDS to help those with eating disorders. Case management is given in the form of evaluating the level of care needed, assessing insurance benefits and connecting clients with treatment. Cafe at 407 helps make these programs possible by sending all its proceeds, minus overhead costs, to Ophelia’s Place. “We have always done a lot on a shoestring budget and we continue to do so,” Wilson said. “But funding is only one way the cafe benefits Ophelia’s Place. Before the cafe, individuals had to be identified as being sick to come through our doors. That was pretty frightening for some. Now, when you walk through the doors, there is a sense of community, of activity, of life happening. It’s a full-service cafe with music three nights a week. People come to our cafe because our food is amazing. They may or may not even know about Ophelia’s Place. And I have seen so many of our families and individuals who use our services come early before groups to have din-

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ner and also stay to enjoy music. They feel safe and supported.” The cafe is also an important public relations pillar for Ophelia’s Place. The staff of the cafe is educated on the nonprofit’s mission and can tell patrons about it if they ask. Tony Burrows, the cafe’s manager, welcomes that opportunity. “It’s a great feeling to serve our customers and at the same time to help a great cause,” he said. “I have a Café manager Tony Burrows and the executive great team of employees that director of Ophelia’s Place, Jodie Wilson, are behind feel the same way.” the work done at 407 Tulip St. in Liverpool. There are eight part-time and two full-time staff. They golf tournament at Radisson Greens also do catering. An expansion is in the golf course in Baldwinsville Sept. 27. works, too. Wilson said she has talked to many “The business has grown and we around the country who have looked need to continue to keep growing,” to Ophelia’s Place and Cafe at 407 as a Burrows said. “In order to do this I potential model on how to do things. need to have the right equipment for She said the model of using a revenuemy staff. We are excited about our generating cafe to support a nonprofit expansion. It will be done in phases. is one that may need to be tweaked deWe are building a stand-alone coffee pending on a community’s resources. bar and reconfiguring the cafe food There is no one-size-fits-all approach. counter. We will also be building a The Cafe at 407 looks to be a good workstation area for people to use fit for the needs of Liverpool though. their laptops. Then the biggie—exIt is serving customers and helping to panding the kitchen and purchasing all serve those with eating disorders and new commercial equipment. The last body image issues. To add to that, it phase will be building offices in our is a great place to work, according to administrative area.” Burrows. To help fund the expansion, “I would just like to say after Ophelia’s Place has gotten creative. working for national chain restaurants, They raised $7,470 through the website hotels and corporate restaurants, this Indiegogo.com, a crowdfunding site. little cafe is amazing. We have a saying Eighty-eight people donated to the here. ‘Great food, great people working cause. Much of the funding for Ophfor a great cause.” elia’s Place comes through different You can find Ophelia’s Place and events. The organization is having its the Cafe at 407 in Liverpool at 407 Tulip 12th annual “Raise the Green” 9-hole St. or online at www.OpheliasPlace.org.

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Men’sHealth

Men’s Low Libido Do men have to live with it or is there treatment? By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

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ike many men’s health problems, low libido isn’t one guys like talking about or asking their doctor about. But it is one problem that in most cases can be resolved. Low sex drive presents patients and their physicians with a complex medical problem involving biological, psychological and emotional factors, along with the needs of the patient’s wife. Typically, a doctor asks his patient about unrelated health issues, medication and stress, all of which can affect libido. Diabetes, obesity, and blood pressure problems can all make sexual performance more difficult. Some drugs such as anti-depressants and blood pressure medication can affect libido. Thomas “It could be psychological,” said Herbert James, urologist with Associated Medical Professionals of NY, PLLC Syracuse. “I ask how their social life is. If it is problematic or they’re stressed or depressed, the low libido could be related to that. We may send them to a human sexuality counselor.” Jill C. Thomas practices psychology at the Professional Practice Group at the department of psychiatry at SUNY Upstate. She assures new clients right away that anything they tell her, is strictly confidential. “Then they open up,” Thomas said. “Contrary to the stereotype, men are more open to talk about it than people think.” Once the client has assured her that he has been checked for medical issues, Thomas discusses the timeline of the patient’s libido problem and other life and relationship issues that could be related. “I would say I am able to help most

Page 16

men who have this problem but the outcome may not be the outcome they expect,” Thomas said. “Their libido may not be where they want it to be by the end of treatment but they can work with their partner and they won’t be distressed by their libido anymore.” Thomas sees low libido as, in part, a relationship issue for most patients. Kimberly A Oakes, marriage and family therapist in Syracuse, would agree. “They may come in and the presenting problem is ‘our sex life is off track’ and they don’t know what’s wrong because it’s not like it used to be,” Oakes said. Like Thomas, Oakes rules out medical issues and then helps couples get to the root of the problem. “If there’s infidelity, that puts a huge barrier to feeling desired by a partner,” Oakes said. “It could be in the past but they don’t feel like the optimal choice for their partner. “I work with couples and do individual work,” Oakes added. Oakes “It’s important for building empathy so they understand what’s happening for the other. When it comes down to it, feeling understood, chosen, and uniquely desired by their partner is important.” Oakes’ clients also find success with counseling. In older men and, rarely, in younger ones, low testosterone levels can make interest in sex wane. Physician Ralph Madeb, founder of Vitalize Medical Center, which operates offices in Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo, said that andropause, known as “male menopause,” can affect sex drive since testosterone levels plummet at this stage of life, along with other factors related to intimacy such as mood, and self image.

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2013

“Their energy level and concentrating ability is a problem, too,” Madeb said. “They may have weight gain, increasing the fat deposition in the gut and legs, and decreasing the muscle content. These are signs of low testosterone.” Many men do not realize what’s going on because the signs can be either mistaken for Madeb something else, since men don’t experience obvious, abrupt symptoms like women, or glumly accepted as part of old age. “It’s a gradual encroachment,” Madeb said. “Their mood will shift. All they want to do is sleep on the couch. He can get an erection fine but he’s so tired.” Increased fat on a man’s body does more than ding his self image. Madeb

said it can directly affect libido. “The silent killer of libido in men is excess weight,” Madeb said. “It inactivates testosterone and makes it much harder to make other natural chemicals in the body to work. It’s a very important concept for men to learn.” He has treated patients with low sex drive and low energy levels who had expected Madeb to prescribe testosterone; however, losing weight has proven to improve their symptoms instead. His office offers a medicallymonitored exercise, nutrition and supplement program that helps patients shed pounds quickly and more safely. For men with low testosterone, Madeb may prescribe hormone replacement therapy, which he said is 100 percent effective with few unwanted side effects, including restlessness and benign prostate enlargement. Patient’s blood tests are carefully monitored to help them maintain a healthy testosterone level.


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By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant ost guys who lift weights want to improve their strength and size. But hitting a plateau isn’t in their workout plans. If you’re not getting any stronger and bigger, any number of factors could be to blame. Patrick Flaherty, certified strength and conditioning specialist with Metro Fitness, said that some guys over train. “Don’t try to strengthen all of your lifting movements at once,” he said. “For example, take a three to six-week planned block and go through progressions to increase your bench press only. Work moderately heavy on your other lifts but only focus on improving one or two lifts at a time, like a bench press and a squat.” While using negaFlaherty tive, eccentric movements can help lifters use as much as 135 percent of their maximum potential, Flaherty advises caution. “Negative movements are a very advanced technique using a weight that is more than you can actually lift, lowering it slowly to your chest and then having a spotter ‘explosively’ help you return the arms back to a locked out position,” he said. “This obviously requires a competent spotter. Do not rush: one of the biggest mistakes people make is that they do not rest long enough between sets.” Most people need at least three to five minutes between such high intensity sets. Flaherty recommends a six-week program of gradually increasing the number of sets while decreasing the number of repetitions and lifting heavier weights as time progresses, from three sets of 10 repetitions in week one to three sets of three. “Pushing through limits should always be done with proper planning and progressions to avoid injury,” Flaherty said. “Do not force yourself to achieve through injury.” While it can be healthy to alternate weight lifting days with cardiovascular workout days, if you’re trying to break through a plateau, Flaherty said that too much cardio along with weight training forces muscle to develop in two different ways and that can hamper gains. Eating right is also vital to breaking through strength plateaus. Flaherty advises against trying to lose weight and build strength at the same time. “In order to build strength and muscle you must increase your caloric

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intake,” he said. He recommends a ratio of 55 to 65 percent carbohydrates, 20 to 30 percent fat and 15 to 20 percent protein. Eating every two and a half to three hours can help keep your energy level up, too. Flaherty also supports taking creatine monohydrate as a supplement. Some guys take anabolic steroids as a shortcut; however, this can cause serious complications and unwanted side effects, including feminization. Michael Knapp operates At Your Home Personal Training with clients in Rochester to Syracuse. In addition to proper nutrition and rest and gradually increasing the number of sets per movement every three months, changing the type of movements can also help. “It’s a way to stimulate muscle growth,” Knapp said. “Muscles respond to stress and if you offer them the same stress, they go on cruise control.” For example, using weight machines for three months, then free weights for three months, then isometric movements for three months can “trick” Knapp muscles into building. You may also need to accept that you’ve reached your potential for size and strength. Just as not everyone will be 6’5” tall, not everyone can look like a professional body builder. “You have to have the right type of genetics to get big muscles and size,” Knapp said. “If you look at professional body builders, they do 15 to 25 sets of up to 10 different exercises for that group. They use all types of free weights, machines and movements. It adds up. They’re working on one body part for half a day, which is tough for most of us.” It’s also important to note that just as clothing models’ photos are airbrushed to look better, bodybuilders also use smoke and mirrors to look better. Before bodybuilding competitions, participants “cut” for days. By eating very few calories and drinking as little as possible, they drop any fat that could obscure their muscles and their skin becomes taut. Nearly all lightskinned contestants use self tanner to darken their skin and accentuate their muscles. Their physiques are not always as chiseled — or healthy — as they appear.

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Reading, Writing, ‘Rithmatic, Running and Radishes? Local school districts embark on new efforts to reduce obesity By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

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f course the “Three R’s” comprise the pillars of any school’s curriculum; however, to successfully combat the obesity epidemic in America, health education initiatives need to ramp up. And area schools are doing just that. At the Oswego City School District, Michele Wink, certified athletic trainer, said that the physical education staff “tries to incorporate getting anaerobic and aerobic exercise into each physical education session. They make sure fitness levels are being evaluated.” Since eating right represents another big factor in remaining healthy, the district’s lunch program has been overhauled. New state regulations require schools to offer more fruits and vegetables and decrease the amount of processed foods available, since the latter tend to be higher in fat and calories and lower in nutrients. Jane Wagoner, food service director for Oswego City School District, said that new signs in the cafeteria representing the USDA’s My Plate program are intended to help students make wise lunch line selections, but “I’m not sure how much they’ll pay attention to it,” Wagoner said. “I think that the elementary [school students] will notice it more than the high school,” Wagoner added. “The food service workers help the kids make good choices and push the fruits and vegetables but there’s only so much you can do. It’s up to them what they select from what is offered.” At Fulton City Schools, fitness

starts early and starts low in the grades. Walking clubs help keep elementary students active. The physical education teachers organize and lead walking clubs that begin 30 minutes before class. While strolling through the building may not be heart-pounding exercise, it does help students get more exercise per day in a safe environment. “It’s a pretty good program,” said Chris Ells, athletic director for Fulton City Schools. “We’re trying to institute that at some of our other schools as well.” The district has also organized physically engaging activities outside of school hours, such as an after-school wrestling meet. “We get 75 to 80 kids participating,” Ells said. “Also, we have cross country and track programs for 5th and 6th grades to keep them interested in individual sports.” Run through the physical education department, but not for competition, these fun programs meet after school hours. Intramural sports for elementary students, such as crosscountry skiing and basketball also helps keep students moving. “There’s tons of committees here like wellness that meets quarterly,” Ells said. “In the food services, we look to implement new ideas and get the education on food and nutrition out there to parents and students. They’re always looking for new ways to improve the menu.” To help your children eat right

during the school year, provide healthful options at home, such as a wholegrain, low sugar cereal, skim milk and piece of fruit for breakfast. Stock up on healthful after-school snacks, like lowfat string cheese, whole fruits, baby carrots, celery sticks, low-fat peanut butter, and whole grain crackers. Prepare balanced meals for dinner to model

good eating habits and eat together as a family, not in front of screens. Get active as a family for everyone’s health. Playing active games in the back yard, taking family walks or joining a fitness center can provide each family member with ways to stay fit.

Packing a Fun, Healthy Lunch for Your Child

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ne of parents many concerns now that their kids are back to school is about the daily ritual of packing their kids a healthy lunch. “The goal is to send the kids off to school with a lunch they may actually eat, rather than swap for something less healthy, or worse yet, toss,” said Patricia Salzer, a registered dietitian and health and wellness consultant for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Salzer offers three simple tips for parents: Focus on health, taste and safety.

What’s Healthy

• Fresh Fruit: “It’s nature’s fast food,” Salzer said. Dried fruit such as raisins is OK too. • Vegetables: Baby carrots and cucumbers • Protein: Peanut butter, hard boiled eggs and lean deli meats • Grains: Whole wheat bread or crackers, tortillas and pita bread • Dairy: Fat-free milk, low fat cheese sticks and low-sugar yogurt “Parents can use a knife or cookie cutter to turn sandwiches and veg-

etables like cucumbers into fun shapes, making these nutritious foods more desirable to their children,” Salzer said.

What’s Tasty

• Add healthy foods into items that kids already love. Use apples or bananas when making muffins. Pack slices of pizza topped with vegetables into your child’s lunch. Slip diced apples into that chicken salad sandwich. • Create healthy trail mix. Mix dry whole wheat cereal with raisins, nuts (if there are no allergy or choking problems), pretzels or even a few chocolate

chips.

Be Safe

• Place an ice pack in your child’s lunch bag, or keep the lunch in the cooler to keep the food at a safe temperature. Don’t forget to remind your kids to wash their hands before eating! “Parents also should ask their child what healthy foods they would like in their lunch,” Salzer added. “The more involved kids are in the lunch planning and grocery shopping, the more likely they are to eat the foods they helped select.”

Experts: Continue Protecting Your Skin

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ummer is coming to an end, but the risk for skin cancer is still present. Medical professionals suggest wearing a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher every day and covering exposed skin, even in the fall months. Skin cancer prevention is becoming increasingly important; rates of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, have increased by 800 percent among young women and 400 percent among young men in the U.S. in the last 40 years, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Page 18

“Skin cancer doesn’t only affect older people,” said physician Frank Dubeck, vice president and chief medical officer, medical policy, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. ”Teenagers and young adults are at risk and need to take prevention seriously.” One or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chance of developing melanoma later in life. Yet half of young adults said they’ve been sunburned in the last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2013

Prevention. Less than 15 percent of high school students use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher when they’re outside for more than an hour on a sunny day, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Take action to prevent sunburns and skin cancer by doing more than the minimum; simply applying sunscreen on summer beach or pool days is not enough. Skin needs to be protected during fall, winter and spring months as well. The Skin Cancer Foundation rec-

ommends: • Using a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher when you’ll be outside for a long period of time. • Applying sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside. • Reapplying sunscreen after two hours of sun exposure, swimming or sweating. • Wearing UVA/UVB protective sunglasses and protecting your face with wide-brimmed hats. • Seeking shade, especially midday.


School Sports: Hundreds of Thousands Suffer Concussions Annually Sport season in school means possible serious injuries. See what the experts say about preventing them By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

P

articipating in school sports offers students unique opportunities to develop lifelong fitness habits, learn teamwork skills and build lasting friendships; however, sports can also expose children to environments and activities where serious injury is possible. Though a minor injury can sideline a player for a while, concussions can cause lifelong problems for athletes or even death. Physician Christopher Brown specializes in sports medicine and orthopedic surgery with Finger Lakes Bone and Joint Center. He said that high school sports account for between 136,000 and 300,000 concussions annually. The range is so wide because many athletes, parents and coaches do not know the signs of concussion. “We still have 47 percent of concussions unrecognized,” Brown said. “In schools that have athletic trainers, the number is higher because the trainers recognize [concussions] better.” According to the Sports Concussion Institute, 5 to 10 percent of student athletes will experience a concussion in any given sports season and fewer than 10 percent of sports-related concussion events involve loss of consciousness. That symptom is only one sign of concussion and athletes may have suf-

fered a concussion even if they remain conscious. Other immediate symptoms can include headache, disorientation, no memory of the injury, dizziness, nausea, slurred speech, ears ringing and unwarranted fatigue. Athletes who appear fine but actually suffer a concussion can become seriously injured or even die from second impact syndrome, which describes

• Football is the most common sport with concussion risk for males (75 percent chance for concussion). • Soccer is the most common sport with concussion risk for females (50 percent chance for concussion). • 78 percent of concussions occur during games (as opposed to practices). • Some studies suggest that females are twice as likely to sustain a concussion as males. • Headache (85 percent) and Dizziness (70-80 percent) are most commonly reported symptoms immediately following concussions for injured athletes. • Estimated 47 percent of athletes do not report feeling any symptoms after a concussive blow. • A professional football player will receive an estimated 900 to 1500 blows to the head during a season. Source: Sports Concussion Institute, www.concussiontreatment.com.

What They Want You to Know:

School Nurse

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

T

he National Association of School Nurses states that school nurses play “ a critical role in improving public health and in ensuring students’ academic success” by the health services they provide on school campuses. • “It’s important to not send students to school when they’re ill. Some parents say to kids who aren’t feeling right, ‘Go to school and if you keep feeling sick, see the nurse.’ It puts the student at risk and the other students if it’s contagious. If the student is sick at school, it can be hard to contact the parents to come pick up the child oftentimes. I realize with both parents working it can be hard to get child care, but you need to when a child is sick. • “Some people think we just hand

a phenomenon where the next head injury causes greater damage to the brain. A return-to-play protocol can include removal from play, supervision for a few hours, evaluation by a medical professional, and a return-toplay progression upon approval of a doctor. Gradually returning to play for about 10 days while monitoring for symptoms can help ensure the brain

out Band-Aids all day but it’s so much more than that. With the state of the economy, kids have so many issues that school nurses take care of beyond cuts and scrapes. People don’t realize what goes on in a nurse’s office in a day. • “The single most important thing that parents can teach their kids is to wash their hands often throughout the day to help curtail illness. They should wash especially before they eat and after they use the bathroom. This would help so much in keeping communicable illnesses from spreading around a school and in people’s homes, too. • “I’m a big advocate of the flu shot. People think the flu is a minor thing. They say they have the flu when they really don’t and they have a cold. The true flu is serious and can cause

death. Being out of work for several days can be devastating to a family, whether it’s the parents themselves who are sick, or if the parent may have to take a week off from work to care for a sick child. Many can’t afford to miss a week at work. This is getting to be the time where you should get vaccinated. • “If at any time, parents or students have any questions about health or other issues, contact school nurses at any building. I can speak for the nurses when I say that any of the nurses would be happy and pleased to help when they could.” • “The most surprising thing to me is that when I went into school nursing, what I thought the job would be like wasn’t like what it was really like. You wear so many hats. You might have a medical emergency, a student might be beaten at home, one might come in who thinks she might be pregnant, or one who doesn’t get enough to eat at home. Every day is different. You never know what’s going to walk through the door. Christina Chamberlain, registered nurse team leader for Oswego City School District Deborah Jeanne Sergeant is a writer with In Good Health. “What Your Doctor Wants You to Know” is an ongoing column that appears monthly to give our area’s healthcare professionals an opportunity to share how patients can improve their care by helping their providers and by helping themselves. September 2013 •

has healed. Schools on a budget can rest easy about used gear. Research shows that if it fits well and according to manufacturer directions used gear offers just as much protection. Of course, no protective gear will guarantee students will remain injury-free. As one would suspect, contact sports carry higher risk than others. However, learning proper playing techniques, receiving a pre-participation concussion exam, and wearing gear properly can help mitigate the risk of long-term problems. Schools’ internal injury prevention and treatment protocol also make a difference. Michele Wink, certified athletic trainer with Oswego City School District, said that each contact sport has a board-approved concussion protocol that follows state regulations. “Every student takes the impact test using a computerized neurological tool to get a baseline score before they scrimmage and play,” Wink said. “And if they have an injury we can compare the two scores.” The 25-minute test measures reaction time, speed and memory and is used as an assessment tool. Other precautions that Oswego City School District and others take is requiring concussion and first aid classes for trainers and coaches, backto-play protocols, and a weight room to offer students opportunities to condition their bodies for play. The weight room was added a year ago. “We can’t predict injuries,” Wink said. “I wish we could. Parents and athletes can know we have an athletic trainer on site and if a coach needs me, I will do my best to help assess an injury and if it needs to be looked at further. Safety and wellbeing is of the utmost importance. I treat these kids like I’d treat my own.” At Fulton City Schools, Chris Ells, athletic director, said the district also employs an athletic trainer to oversee the safety of the coaches and student athletes. Like Oswego, the Fulton schools comply with state regulations for maintaining first aid and other health-related courses. “Our concussion management committee meets semiannually,” Ells said. “We research to see if there’s anything we can to do keep kids safer out there.” In general, for other types of injuries, athletes need medical attention if they experience extreme pain, continued pain and swelling after three days, physical deformity, or anything that limits their ability to walk. If an activity isn’t recognized as a sport, students may not have access to trainers who can help them condition and use equipment right. Though referees and coaches shouldn’t let children play if they don’t have proper equipment or are using the right techniques, students may anyway if no one notices. It’s up to parents to make sure their children follow the safety rules, wear safety equipment properly and understand the lasting consequences of reckless play.

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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A Local Homecare Pediatric Nurse Vying for National Recognition VNA Homecare’s Dea Kuiper, a ‘trusted, tireless advocate,’ has won in NYS and now is among 10 finalists across the country who will get the title of Home Care & Hospice Nurse of the Year By Suzanne M. Ellis

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hen Dea Kuiper came to Central New York from Holland in 1986, becoming a registered nurse wasn’t at the top of her priority list. She had married her high school sweetheart and they were beginning to find their way in a new marriage, a new country and a new way of life. But fate intervened and, in 1993, Kuiper’s husband died. “I love this country so much, and after my husband died I wanted to stay here,” said Kuiper, 55, of Jamesville. “I suddenly had to make a living for myself and I had no degrees here in America, so I went to Cayuga [Community] College and got my nursing degree in 1995.” She worked in family planning clinics for the Onondaga County Health Department before being hired in 2004 by VNA Homecare of Syracuse. Today, as one of five registered nurses on VNA Homecare’s pediatric team, Kuiper is among 10 finalists vying for the national title of Home Care & Hospice Nurse of the Year. Initially, she was named New York State’s Home Healthcare Nurses Association home care and hospice nurse of the year. One nurse from each of the 50 states was selected, and Kuiper was named a national finalist from New York state. Kuiper got the good news this summer when she was called to the office of Kate Rolf, president and CEO of VNA Homecare. “When I was called in ... I initially thought I was in trouble, but it turned out to be just the opposite of that,” Kuiper said. “It was already quite an honor just to have been nominated” for the state award, she said. “We are absolutely thrilled that Dea has been recognized with this very prestigious honor,” said Rolf. “[She] is very worthy and brings so much to our

pediatric team, our patients and their families.” When the people at VNA Homecare decided to nominate Dea Kuiper, whose name is pronounced Day-ah Cooper, the essay they wrote focused on the care she gave a Somalian refugee named Fardowsa Suleiman. Fardowsa was 10 when she came to America with her aunt, Sadiya Dahir, after witnessing the violent deaths of her parents. She had a severe congenital heart defect known as Eisenmenger’s syndrome. Children in the United States and other modern countries who are born with the defect usually have surgery within their first year and most can then live a normal life. “Initially, I was still hoping that surgery would extend and improve the quality of her life,” Kuiper said. “But it was explained to me that [the heart problem] was just too severe and that it couldn’t be corrected. So my care for Fardowsa became comfort care.” As their homecare provider, Kuiper cared for the girl, medically and spiritually, and guided her aunt, who barely spoke any English, in the often complicated ways of life in the United States. Always going above and beyond what was expected of her, Kuiper arranged for Fardowsa to be homeschooled. She made sure National Grid didn’t turn off the power when Dahir couldn’t pay the bills because the child needed oxygen to survive. She circumvented the language barrier between herself and Dahir by creating a color-coded system, using electrical tape, to insure that the child’s medications were administered in the proper amounts at the right times of day. While her aunt’s English was extremely limited, Fardowsa didn’t speak a word of it. Kuiper easily worked her way around that roadblock.

Nurse Dea Kuiper and Suleiman. Page 20

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2013

Dea Kuiper, a registered nurse with VNA Homecare, with Somalian refugee Fardowsa Suleiman. The nurse is among 10 finalists across the country who will get the title of Home Care & Hospice Nurse of the Year in October. “I just spoke to her with my heart, and she spoke to me with hers,” Kuiper said. “A translator isn’t always practical with a child, or even needed. A hug is a very international language, and it crosses all the borders.” Meeting Suleiman and Dahir for the first time, others might have seen a two-person family in a small, dilapidated tenement with little ventilation, few belongings and very little money. But being an immigrant herself, according to the nomination form, “Dea understands the challenges of being transplanted to a completely different world. She saw not what was missing but instead what existed. She saw Sadiya as a woman who embraced every opportunity to help not only herself and her niece but also gave of herself to other immigrants. “With Dea Kuiper, they found not only a homecare nurse but a loyal friend and trusted, tireless advocate,” said the VNA Homecare nomination. “The expertise, professionalism and exceptional level of care she brings to the agency and its patients, on a daily basis, are surpassed only by the dedication and compassion with which it is delivered.” Home care certainly presents extra challenges, Kuiper said, but her philosophy seems to be that where there’s

a will, there’s always a way. “I believe that as a homecare nurse, you can provide very good nursing care on a very personal level. But you are a guest in their house, you are meeting them on their own turf, so along with the medical things, you are dealing with their culture and their way of life,” she said. “And in home care, you are not only dealing with the child, you are dealing with parents or guardians; the whole family is involved. The goal is to make them as independent as possible.” Suleiman was 11 when she died last summer, and Kuiper turned to her VNA Homecare colleagues. “There is a lot of support here,” she said. “You are out there alone in the field and to be able to come back here, to vent, is monumental when something like this happens.” Whether she wins or loses the national competition, she hopes the recognition she’s received will help her become a voice for the VNA Homecare. “I hope to be a great advocate,” she said, “not only for the VNA in Syracuse but also for the type of pediatric care we provide in people’s homes.” The winner will be announced Oct. 31 at the annual meeting of the National Association of Home Care & Hospice in Washington, D.C.


Iron Girl Has the Mettle The mind is powerful when it comes to motivating for a triathlon

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield program recognizes Upstate’s spine and orthopedic surgery programs for quality

By Melissa Stefanec

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here are as many distractions in life as there are reasons to doubt oneself. Most of us are stressed out and overcommitted. As such, we neglect ourselves. We neglect ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally. Staying in a pattern of neglect isn’t a good long-term course. When I decided to do the Iron Girl Triathlon, I changed that pattern. I will be forever grateful to myself. There was a seemingly endless parade of reasons not to do it. I had a toddler, a husband, a fulltime job, a freelance writing job, family obligations and friend obligations. I was house shopping and starting a new job. I barely had time to cut my nails let alone train for a triathlon. Even if I trained, I doubted I could actually do it. These little monsters almost dissuaded me, but when I clicked the register button back on New Year’s Eve I knew there would be no turning back. When I commit to something, I follow through. The hardest part was the first step. As each day passed, I grew increasingly happy that I started down that path. That path led me to time for me. I had no choice but to train, so I did. I trained two or three times a week and invested about six hours per week in training. There were no excuses, I let almost no other commitment override my training time. For those hours, I would be incommunicado. I first I thought it would be a chore, but it was quite the opposite. It was liberating. When I was training, I thought about nothing else besides overcoming and accomplishing. For the first time in a long time, my mind was free from all those noisy little monsters.

‘Noisy little monsters’

There are so many noisy little monsters in life. They are in the background and in the foreground. Some of them are nice and some of them bad, but they are almost always there. There are emails to answer, bills to pay, projects at home and projects at work. There are birthday parties, weddings, sick kids, interest rates, 401ks, chores, advertising, models, bank accounts, bathroom scales, promotions, mommy wars and all of those things you wish you could get around to doing. The noise is constant, endless and unrelenting—or so I thought. That is until I committed to doing something positive and challenging. Sometimes all the stress makes you feel like you have no control. When I decided to do a tri, I took some control back. I controlled whether or not I would accomplish this. I controlled how and when I trained. I felt powerful; and as far as power trips go, this one was relatively positive and healthy. As of this spring, I had never been on road bike. I had never swum for any other reason than recreation. Besides hiking or walking, I hadn’t worked out for more than an hour straight since high school. I didn’t know if I could do

University Hospital honored

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Melissa Stefanec it. I doubted my body and its capabilities, but when I proved myself wrong it felt amazing.

Life lessons learned

Doing a triathlon taught me a lot of valuable life lessons. I will list them in no particular order: • [Almost] anyone can do a triathlon. If you don’t have a doctor’s note barring you from such activities, you can do it. • Mind over matter is no joke. Your own worst enemy in accomplishing any great task is your mind. Commit and stick to your goals and you will accomplish them. • I deserve me time, plain and simple. • Our bodies and minds enjoy being challenged. Don’t be afraid to take them up on that inclination. • It’s good to be a little scared, and then find out you had no reason to be scared. If you play it safe all the time, you will never know what you are capable of. • You can’t accomplish much in life without the support of family and friends. Immerse yourself in positive relationships. So what was doing my first triathlon like? It was amazing. It was one of the most positive experiences of my life. I will share some of that day with you. I stood on a beach on Sunday, Aug. 4. It was a chilly morning and the sun had just come up. More than a thousand women who ranged in age from 16 to 78 surrounded me. There were even more spectators. I was so full of energy that I just kept jumping up and down. I said a little prayer to the powers that be. I thanked them for letting be alive and able on this beautiful summer morning. I hit the water and swam almost a half a mile. I ran out of the water and to my bike. I biked for over 18 miles. I got off my bike and ran a 5K. During the race, people cheered me on, and I cheered on my fellow triathletes. I did the whole race in less than two hours and ran the fastest 5K of my life. If you had told me I would pull this off six months ago, I would have called you a liar. It felt so good to be wrong.

Moments of inspiration

There were some highly inspira-

tional moments during this race. The announcer shared personal stories from fellow triathletes. One woman was diagnosed with breast cancer days before the race. She came out and kicked butt. The announcer let everyone know when the oldest participant was about to cross the finish line. When that woman crossed, she stopped and flexed her 78-year-old, wrinkled arms and kissed them. The crowd ate it up. The crowd was no less enthusiastic as the last triathlete crossed the finish line. Everyone had to have their ages written in large numbers on their calves. No one cared, because who cares how old you are when you are doing a triathlon? When was the last time you were surrounded by women who were proud of their ages, bodies and physical strength? So even if you don’t think you have a triathlete in you, I encourage you to physically and mentally challenge yourself. Maybe challenging yourself means doing a 5k, breaking out the old bike, taking a dance class or walking after dinner every night. Whatever it is, you owe it to yourself to make a healthy and positive commitment to your mind and body. Only you can drown out the noise of all the little monsters. You don’t know how amazing you are until you prove it to yourself. We aren’t owed a lot of things in life. We don’t deserve new, fancy shoes or designer furniture. We don’t deserve the relative safety and health we live in. So much of life is left to luck. I have a lot that I don’t necessarily deserve, but I deserved to cross that finish line. I worked hard to get there. It felt more amazing than anything I could have bought or achieved because of luck. I left the noisy monsters and my selfdoubt in a ripple of water, a crease of pavement, and a puff of sand. I made a scary commitment. I tried. Because someone else can always say it better, I will leave you with these two quotes by Mary Schmich, a New York Times columnist from the 1970s: • “Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.” • “The race is long, and in the end it’s only with yourself.” September 2013 •

pstate University Hospital has been recognized as Blue Distinction Centers+ by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield for expertise in quality and cost efficiency in delivering specialty care. Upstate’s Downtown and Community campuses received the designation for their spine surgery programs. Upstate’s Community Campus was also recognized for its knee and hip replacement programs. “The recognition of these specialty areas is a testament to the dedication of the Upstate medical staff in providing excellent care to our patients and their families,” said physician John McCabe, chief executive officer of Upstate University Hospital. Since 2006, consumers, medical providers and employers have relied on the Blue Distinction program to identify hospitals delivering quality care in bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery and transplants. The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program expanded recently to include new cost-efficiency measures, as well as more robust quality measures focused on improved patient health and safety. “Local hospitals continue to prove that they can offer highquality care at an affordable price,” said physician Arthur Vercillo, regional president of Excellus BCBS. “The Blue Distinction+ recognition acknowledges that we collaborate with health care institutions in Syracuse to jointly tackle such issues as improving quality of care and reducing readmissions and hospital-acquired infections.” Research confirms that the newly designated Blue Distinction Centers+ demonstrate better quality and improved outcomes for patients and have lower rates of complications and readmissions than their peers. Blue Distinction Centers+ are also more than 20 percent more cost-efficient. The program provides consumers with tools to help them make betterinformed health care decisions. It will also enable employers, working together with Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, to tailor benefits to meet their individual quality and cost objectives.

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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Terrible Twos What to do when your child has a tantrum

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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2013

L

ife with a toddler can be trying. Every time you think you have control, you are reminded that someone is constantly battling you for it. If you let your guard down for even an exhausted second, you find yourself in the middle of the terrible twos. I never thought the term terrible twos was terribly fair; kids are also a lot of fun at this age. However, now that I am a mom, I realize that terrible is a big part of the twos. It’s like the terrific and terrible parts occur in such a delicate balance that even one misplaced animal-shaped cracker can bring your whole world crashing down. As Stella enters her third year of life, I find myself being tried, tired and flustered. For every smile, there is a wail. For every laugh, there is a flail. For every joyous shriek, there is a pulled kitty tail. (Can you tell I’ve been reading a lot of children’s books?) Tantrums are a major part of my day; heck, they are a major part of each hour. This month’s column is about my research on how to deal with toddler tantrums. Hopefully, my research unveils the availability of a fruit snack-dispensing kitten that meows nursery rhymes and likes being jumped on, pulled and otherwise prodded. A quick Internet spin around the National Institute of Health’s (NIH’s) Medline Plus Web page offers some guidance, though it doesn’t sell any magical kittens. As every other resource I have read on this topic, it starts with the observation that tantrums are a very normal part of growing up. These displays of independence occur most frequently at the ages of 2 and 3. By the age of 4, they drastically decrease. This puts me in tantrum territory for what seems like an unmanageable eternity. I think to myself that although tantrums are normal, that Stella’s frequent tantrums are the product of my shoddy parenting. I start to question myself. Maybe my parenting style begets incredible-hulk-style fits. I must not be the only parent to go through this struggle, because the first heading under a paragraph titled, “What to do when your child has a tantrum,” is as follows: “When your child has a temper tantrum, it is important that you stay calm. It helps to remember that tantrums are normal — they are NOT your fault. You are NOT a bad parent, and your son or daughter is NOT a bad child.” Phew. According to the NIH, I am not a failure as a parent. Crisis adverted. The article suggests gentle distraction like switching activities or making a funny face. If you aren’t at home when a tantrum breaks out, you can bring your child to a quiet place to calm down. It also suggests goodold-fashioned ignoring. Apparently,

tantrums are an attention-seeking behavior, and it’s perfectly acceptable to walk away from tantrum as long as your child is in a safe place. If your child follows you, you are supposed to ignore it. Once your child calms down, you are supposed to discuss the issue and offer alternatives without giving into your child’s demands. That sounds very rational, but exercising all this prudence in the heat of the moment is very difficult. The article even offers tips on preventing tantrums, which seems to me like asking water not be wet. You are supposed to keep your child on a regular sleep, nap and food schedule. You should use an upbeat tone when asking your child for something and don’t battle over unimportant things like clothing choices, seating preference or crayon color. Let your child feel like he or she has some control and he or she will be more likely to follow rules when it’s important. Safety should be your No. 1 concern. Try to avoid saying no to everything. Many professionals suggest limiting how many times a day you say no. Only say no when it’s absolutely necessary. An article on the US Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children & Families’ website offers some additional advice. It’s best that you remain as calm as possible during a tantrum. Use timeouts as necessary and use a sense of humor to redirect your toddler. You should encourage your child to express him or herself with words, and praise your child when he or she asks for something without a tantrum. Some younger children may need to be held during tantrums, this is fine. The most important thing a parent can do to combat tantrums is to never give in, even when it’s tantalizingly convenient. Model the self-control you wish to see in your child. Don’t teach them that tantrums work. So there you have it, the best way to curtail tantrums is having the patience and dedication to render them ineffective. Let’s hope most of Stella’s tantrums occur in the early part of the day, when I am somewhat rested and have minimal wits about me, or that science and research produces that miracle kitten. You can find the articles referenced in this column by visiting the following sites: • www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ ency/article/001922.htm • www.childwelfare.gov/preventing/supporting/resources/tempertantrums.cfm


By Jim Miller

Music Therapy for Alzheimer’s Patients Dear Savvy Senior, What can you tell me about music therapy for Alzheimer’s patients? I’m helping my dad take care of my 80-year-old mother who has mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease and thought it might be something worth trying. How do we proceed? Unmusical Mary Dear Mary, Music has amazing power, especially for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that listening to familiar music can significantly improve mood and alertness, reduce agitation, and can help with a number of behavioral issues that are common in the middle stages of the disease. Even in the late stages of Alzheimer’s a person may be able to tap a beat or sing lyrics to a song from childhood. Sitting and listening to music together can also provide a way for you and your dad to connect and bond with your mom, even after she stops recognizing your names and faces. Here are a few tips to help you create a music therapy program for your mom. Create a Playlist Your first step is to identify the music that’s familiar and enjoyable to your mom. Does she like jazz, classical or Frank Sinatra? What songs make her want to get up and dance? Then go back to the era when she was a teenager through their early 20s. Research shows that music during this time period seems to get the best response and triggers the most memories. If you need some help creating a playlist, the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function provides a suggested list of top songs by era and genre on its website at musictherapy. imnf.org — click on “Outpatient Services,” then on “Top 10’s For Memory.” The website pandora.com will also tailor a radio station to match your

mom’s musical taste when you select an artist, song or genre. And musicandmemory.org offers a free guide to creating a personalized playlist. You can also get help from a music therapist. The American Music Therapy Association offers a national directory of more than 6,000 therapists at musictherapy.org to help you find someone in your area. To keep things fresh, it’s best to create a diverse playlist of numerous artists, with no more than five to 10 songs per artist. It’s also important to keep tweaking their playlist. Every week or so, ask your mom which songs she likes and which ones are just so-so. Remove the so-so ones, and build on the successful ones so you end up with 100 or 200 songs that all resonate.

Music Delivery There are a number of ways you can deliver your mom’s favorite music: a digital listening device, CD player, a computer or tablet, or even an old record player. If you don’t have any music and are on a tight budget, check with your local public library. It may have CD selections you can check out. Digital listening devices like an iPod or MP3 player are the most convenient and widely used options among music therapists for delivering music, because they’re easy to add and remove songs from. The $49 Apple iPod Shuffle (apple. com/ipod-shuffle), and $40 SanDisk Sansa Clip MP3 Player (sandisk.com) that require headphones, and the $60 Peabod SweetPea3 MP3 Player (sweetpeatoyco.com) which has an external speaker, are three excellent devices that are extremely simple to use and very affordable. Another option to consider for listening to music together is through an Internet radio service like spotify.com and rhapsody.com. These services will let you create a customized playlist (for free or a small monthly subscription fee) that your mom and you can listen to via computer, mobile device, home entertainment system, or a home Internet radio like the $180 Logitech UE Smart Radio (ue.logitech.com), which is a great alternative that’s simple to use and compatible with most online radio services.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www.savvysenior. org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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The Social Ask Security Office Column provided by the local Social Security Office

Get Your Benefit Verification Letter Online

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sonal information about yourself and o you need a letter from Social give us answers to some questions that Security verifying your benonly you are likely to know. They are efits? The fastest, easiest, most the same types of questions you would convenient way to get a benefit verifiencounter if you were trying to open cation letter these days is to go online an online account at a finanto www.socialsecurity.gov. cial institution or obtain your You may need a benefit vericredit report. fication letter for a number of Next, you create a unique userreasons. Perhaps you need proof name and password that you of income for a loan or to verify will use to access your online your monthly income for housaccount. This process protects ing, or state or local benefits. You you and keeps your personal may need proof of your current Social Security information Medicare health insurance staprivate. tus. In some cases, a person may Once you’ve established your need proof of retirement status, account, it will be simple for disability status, or age. For any you to come back and transact of these situations, a benefit veri- Banikowski business with Social Security in the fication letter will provide the proof future. For example, in addition to getyou need. ting another benefit verification letter Sometimes a benefit verification letin the next year or two, you can check ter is called a budget letter, benefits your benefit and payment information letter, proof of income letter, or proof as well as your earnings record. You of award letter. Don’t let the differalso can change your address, phone ent titles confuse you; they are all the number, and direct deposit informasame thing: a benefit verification letter. tion. Whatever the reason you need your So remember: there’s no need to fight benefit verification letter, you can get traffic and visit a busy government yours immediately online for free. office in order to obtain proof of your To get your benefit verification letter, benefits. Simply visit www.socialsesimply visit us online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount and establish a curity.gov/myaccount and set up a my my Social Security account so you can Social Security account. To create an obtain your benefit verification letter account, you must provide some peronline in a matter of minutes.

Q&A

Q: Are Social Security numbers reassigned after a person dies? A: No. We do not reassign Social Security numbers. In all, we have assigned more than 460 million Social Security numbers. Each year we assign about 5.5 million new numbers. There are over one billion combinations of the nine-digit Social Security number. As a result, the current system has enough new numbers to last for several more generations. Q: Can I apply online for retirement benefits? A: Yes. In fact, almost half of all individuals apply for retirement benefits online. Join the millions of Americans who have saved a trip to a Social Security office and applied the quickest and easiest way—online. In as little as 15 minutes you can submit your application electronically. In most cases, once you’ve submitted your application, you’re done and there are no forms to sign or documents to send in. If we do need more information to process your application, a representative will contact you. For more information about applying online, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call us tollfree at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-3250778). Q: If both my spouse and I are entitled to Social Security benefits based on our Page 24

own work records, is there any reduction in our payments because we are married? A: No. We independently calculate each person’s Social Security benefit amount. Each spouse receives a monthly benefit amount based on his or her own earnings. Couples are not penalized simply because they are married. If one member of the couple earned low wages or did not earn enough Social Security credits to be eligible for retirement benefits, he or she may be eligible to receive benefits as a spouse. Q: If I go back to work, will I automatically lose my Social Security disability benefits? A: No, Social Security has several work incentive programs to help people who want to work. You may be able to receive monthly benefits and continue your health care coverage during a trial work period. For information about Social Security’s work incentives and how they can help you return to work, you should: • Visit our special work site at www. socialsecurity.gov/work; • See the Red Book on work incentives at www.socialsecurity.gov/redbook; or • Check out our publications at www. socialsecurity.gov/pubs and type “work” in the search box. For more information, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800325-0778).

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2013

H ealth News Kristina Mennig promoted at Laboratory Alliance Kristina Mennig of Homer has been promoted to laboratory manager of Laboratory Alliance’s Rapid Response Laboratory (RRL) at Upstate University Hospital Community Campus. She most recently served as technical supervisor of chemistry at the RRL at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center. Mennig’s medical technology experience includes director of clinical lab services at Crystal Run Healthcare Mennig in Middletown and Rock Hill N.Y., and medical technologist positions at Polymedco Inc. in Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., and at Vassar Hospital in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Mennig earned her Bachelor of Science degree in medical technology from Marist College and her Master of Science in health management and policy from New School University in New York City. She is licensed as a clinical laboratory technologist in the state of New York.

New orthopedic surgeon at Oswego Health Orthopedic surgeon Ronald “Damani” Howell has recently joined the Oswego Health active medical staff. Howell has just completed a six-year orthopedic surgery residency program at New York University’s (NYU) Hospital for Joint Diseases. Five years of this program are devoted to clinical rotations that are combined with a rigorous academic curriculum. He graduated Howell from NYU’s School of Medicine with honors in cell biology. He completed a post baccalaureate pre-

medicine program at City University of New York-Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. Howell has been presented several prestigious awards and honors, including the Kappa Delta Young Investigator Award by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery; NYU’s School of Medicine Excellence in Musculoskeletal Research Award and the Louis L. Seaman Medical Student Research Grant in Microbiology, presented by the New York Academy of Medicine. He earned his undergraduate degree at Amherst College, where he also played on the varsity basketball team as a point guard. He also was a courtside physician at NYU and a performance physician at Madison Square Garden while attending his residency training.

St. Joseph’s appoints new director of development St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center has appointed Vincent J. Kuss to the position of director of development. Kuss brings to St. Joseph’s more than 11 years of healthcare and higher education development experience ranging from annual and alumni giving, capital campaigns, major gifts, fundraising events management and public and donor relations. He has held development positions at two major universities and, most recently, served as Kuss executive director for the College of Medicine Foundation at SUNY Upstate Medical University. “We are pleased to have Vincent join our Foundation,” said Douglas G. Smith, vice president of development for St. Joseph’s. “He will assist us as we continue our fundraising and capital campaign activities to position St. Joseph’s for the future.” A graduate of SUNY Cortland, Kuss holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He also earned his Master of Science in higher education administration from Syracuse University and

Crouse Hospital Chief of Urology David Albala has been named editor-in-chief of the Journal of Robotic Surgery. Formerly director of the Center of Minimally Invasive and Robotic Urological Surgery at Duke University, the physician is a leading authority in laparoscopic and robotic urological surgery and has been an active teacher in this clinical area.


H ealth News a Master of Business Administration from Le Moyne College. He is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Central New York, the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy and several other donor and philanthropic associations. He resides in Manlius.

Community Memorial in Hamilton adds staff Community Memorial Hospital announced that two additional family nurse practitioners have been added to it network of family health centers. Jennifer Rogers now sees patients at the Barton Family Health Center in Waterville. Rogers, who lives in the Waterville area, began developing her own patient practice in July. Previously, she worked at Holbert St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Utica where she served as a nurse in the special care. Tammy Holbert now works at the medical staff at the Hamilton Family Health Center. Holbert is a resident of Cicero and previously worked at Crouse Hospital, Rogers where she served as program administrator in the bariatric division. She earned her FNP at Upstate Medical University.

Auburn Community helped by Welch-Allyn employees Employees from Welch-Allyn in Skaneateles Falls held their annual “Show of Hands” community volunteer initiative. This event allowed employees to take a day to work at various organizations and make a difference in our communities. Instead of working their day jobs, hundreds of employees volunteered with more than 20 nonprofit organizations in central New York. Employees chose if they wanted to work in Syracuse, Auburn or Skaneateles, and were placed based on their answers to questions about whether they wanted to work outside or inside, along with other preferences. Thirteen employees chose Auburn Community Hospital. They performed a variety of work from weeding, spreading mulch and planting flowers to washing windows. The courtyard, walkways and entrances at Finger Lakes Center for Living were also cleaned.

Alzheimer’s Association Staffing Changes The Alzheimer’s Association, Central New York Chapter has announced two recent changes to its staff. Stephanie Bliss was named con-

stituent relations coordinator. She manages the chapter’s constituent databases and is responsible for data integrity and analysis. She also coordinates the demographic information, resource manual and program evaluations to support the programs and Bliss services department. Bliss, who lives in Camillus, joined the chapter as its donor relations specialist in May 2012. She previously worked at Rapid Response Monitoring in Syracuse. Bliss was also a marketing communications intern for the chapter prior to her Desantis 2010 graduation from the SUNY Oswego. John DeSantis of Syracuse joined the chapter in April 2013 as its constituent services specialist. He is responsible for all facets of donor relations, including the intake and acknowledgement of donor gifts, as well as working with constituents in need of support services. He is the founder of Believe In Syracuse, a grassroots organization that promotes the city. DeSantis was formerly the Upstate New York Regional Field Director for Obama for America and has served in volunteer roles with the Alzheimer’s Association, Hiscock Legal Aid Society and Say Yes To Education — Syracuse. He is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University.

a pre-audit initial assessment — all of which are required to meet the ISO 9001: 2008 standard. The process culminated in a four-day on-site audit by DNV in January 2013. A certificate of ISO registration was issued to Crouse Hospital Aug. 9.

St. Joe’s recognized for quality in cardiac care Excellus BlueCross BlueShield has recognized St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center as one of the first hospitals in the nation to receive a Blue Distinction Center+ designation in the area of cardiac care, as part of the Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program. This comes just after Excellus BlueCross BlueShield recognized St. Joseph’s as a Blue Distinction Center+ in the specialties of spine surgery and knee and hip replacement. Blue Distinction Centers are hospi-

tals shown to deliver quality specialty care based on objective, transparent measures for patient safety and health outcomes that were developed with input from the medical community. This year, the national program has added a new designation level, Blue Distinction Centers+, to recognize hospitals that deliver both quality and cost-efficient specialty care. Since 2006, consumers, medical providers and employers have relied on the Blue Distinction program to identify hospitals delivering quality care in bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacements, spine surgery and transplants. The Blue Distinction Centers for Specialty Care program expanded recently to include new cost-efficiency measures, as well as more robust quality measures focused on improved patient safety and outcomes. St. Joseph’s is recognized as a Blue Distinction Center+ for its expertise in

Sandra Martin’s Career Celebrated at Recent Retirement Event

Crouse Hospital now ISO certified Crouse Hospital has been certified as an ISO 9001: 2008 Quality Management Systems compliant organization. ISO 9001 is a standard related to quality management systems and designed to help organizations ensure that they meet the needs of customers, shareholders and employees, thereby allowing the organization to develop sustainable performance. The certification of compliance with ISO 9001: 2008 recognizes that the policies, practices and procedures of the organization ensure consistent quality services are provided to customers. This certification is accredited by DNV Certification Inc. of Houston. “Obtaining ISO certification demonstrates Crouse Hospital’s commitment to providing the best in patient care by standardizing processes that promote consistent high-quality service within all departments of the organization,” says Director of Quality Improvement Jennifer Watkins. “Under ISO 9001: 2008, all departments are equally engaged and understand the role they have in achieving excellent outcomes and improved patient experiences.” To become certified as ISO 9001: 2008 compliant, Crouse underwent a 36-month evaluation process that included development of a formal quality management system (QMS), management systems review, employee training, process documentation, establishment of process metrics and

Anthony P. Marshall, chairman of the Home Aides of Central New York board of directors (right), and Anita P. Lombardi, chairwoman of the Eldercare Foundation board of directors (middle), present former Home Aides of Central New York President and CEO Sandra H. Martin (left) with a plaque honoring her 23 years of distinguished leadership. A who’s who of local home health care, business and nonprofit executives gathered in August to honor former Home Aides of Central New York President and CEO Sandra H. Martin, who retired in June after 23 years of dedicated leadership. Martin, a Cicero resident, began her tenure at Home Aides of Central New York in 1990, becoming only the third executive to lead the nonprofit agency since its founding in 1966. During her time as president, Martin became a tireless advocate for the agency’s mission of assisting the community’s aging, ill and frail September 2013 •

individuals to remain at home with dignity and independence. Martin was also responsible for the formation of the Eldercare Foundation, the fundraising arm of Home Aides of Central New York. “We’re celebrating the career of a woman who, through her commitment, passion and dedication, has touched thousands of lives,” said Anthony P. Marshall, chairman of the Home Aides of Central New York board of directors. “While this may be the end of an era, Ms. Martin has left a solid foundation upon which we can continue to steward her legacy of caring.”

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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H ealth News quality and cost efficiency in delivering specialty care. Quality is key: Only those facilities that first meet Blue Distinction’s nationally established, objective quality measures are considered for designation as Blue Distinction Centers+. “Local hospitals continue to prove that they can offer high-quality care at an affordable price,” said Arthur Vercillo, regional president, Excellus BCBS. “The Blue Distinction+ recognition acknowledges that we collaborate with health care institutions in Syracuse to jointly tackle such issues as improving quality of care and reducing readmissions and hospital-acquired infections.”

Chief Administrative Officer at Upstate Community Now at St. Joe’s St. Joseph’s appoints Meredith Price chief financial officer St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center has appointed Meredith Price its new chief financial officer. Most recently, she served as chief administrative officer for Upstate University Hospital’s Community Campus. Price brings to St. Joseph’s more than 18 years of varying health care experience. Under a national consulting group, she served in several hospitals as strategic planner, project manager,

Many people believe Pelvic Floor Dysfunction is a condition that only affects women. At Mauro-Bertolo Therapy Services, 40.2% of our patients with this diagnosis are men. We have two therapists specially trained in male pelvic related issues such as: • Pre and post prostatectomy rehabilitation • Pain radiating into the groin, testicles and penis • Urinary and fecal incontinence • Painful intercourse • Urinary frequency and urgency • Constipation

and interim chief financial officer and other financial positions. Previous to this experience Price worked as a hospital’s director of finance and as a consultant for an international accounting firm. “We are pleased to have Meredith join our organization,” said Kathryn Ruscitto, president and chief executive officer. “She will help us navigate the future healthcare environment in which quality and finance will be more connected. Her financial acumen combined with her knowledge of operations and quality will help propel us forward as we further develop as a healthcare organization.” A graduate of Siena College, she holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and she is a certified public accountant in New York state.

She is on the board of the March of Dimes Central New York Division. Price resides in Baldwinsville with her husband and three children.

Our therapists assess each patient and recommend a personalized rehabilitation program, which may include biofeedback, electrical stimulation, pain modalities, myofascial release and a progressive exercise program for individual specific needs. This quality service is provided in a private, caring and sensitive environment. Please feel free to contact our office at (315) 699-1009, to speak with Sharon Riccio, PT and Director of Pelvic Rehabilitation, or Darryl Kay Leach, PT, DPT, should you have any questions or wish to discuss your specific issues prior to making an appointment. We are conveniently located on Route 31 just 1.6 mile east of the Route 81N, Cicero exit #30.

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IOSWEGO AM HEALTH

Hospitalist Dr. Bernardo has earned praises from patients and staff alike for the exceptional care he provides at Oswego Hospital. The board-certified internist joined the hospital staff last fall. As a hospitalist, he provides care to hospital patients whose primary care physicians have opted to take advantage of the hospitalist program. Since his arrival, Dr. Bernardo said the staff has become like a second family. “My fellow physicians, along with the nurses and other staff have been great to work with and the patients, of course, have been terrific.”

Leandro Bernardo, MD Hospitalist Oswego Hospital

www.oswegohealth.org

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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2013


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To find locations, hours or to schedule an appointment: QuestDiagnostics.com or 1-866-MYQUEST (1-866-697-8378) September 2013 •

IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper

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IN GOOD HEALTH – CNY’s Healthcare Newspaper • September 2013

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